Becca Salmins was 6-years-old when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on September 8, 2014.
“I remember sitting in the hospital bed, complaining that my hip hurt, and a doctor just came in and said, ‘Your daughter has cancer,’ and my mom started crying,” Becca recalled while sharing her story with TODAY‘s Hoda Kotb.
Her mother, Sherry, was there for her daughter during the many bad days that took place mostly in the beginning of the treatment. Becca had to go through 26 months of excruciating pain and non-stop forms of medication and treatment, some of which were much more intrusive than others.
Sherry Salmins explained: “Tons of spinal taps, tons of hospital admissions, tons of side effects… She took chemo every single day of her treatment. It was a long haul.”
November 2016 was a big one for Becca, who after more than 2 years was finally making the 13th day of the month as her last treatment. Since then, Becca has been cancer-free.
However, curing of the dreadful disease did not cause the young girl to set aside everything she had undergone in the past couple of years. It was hard to go about a normal life and completely to disregard the painful time she had while receiving treatment, so she decided to assist the community she was a part of up until then.
“I just wanted to be a normal kid, and that’s what every kid wants to do when they are going through treatment,” said Becca. “I was never able to do much, and that’s what the kids laying in their hospital beds right now want to do, asking their mom and dad, ‘When are we leaving? When can I go play with my friends?’ So we decided we have to give back.”
That is when she came up with the concept of Knots and Arrows – she would form a company that produces bracelets out of swimsuit fabric, to remind others to ‘just keep swimming.’ The proceeds from her sold jewelry would partially go toward charities dedicated to assisting individuals with pediatric cancer.
When asked about the inspiration for her ambitious starting business, now 9-year-old Becca explained that it all started with her “cure,” fellow cancer survivor, and father – Gerhard Salmins:
“I would be in the hospital and I’d sit there crying and then my dad would come in and he would play games with me,” she said. “It made me forget about what I was going through.”