Payton Hand had a very bubbly personality with an infectious smile.
"She could light up a room," Payton's Mother Amy Koeppe said.
Today Payton's family is celebrating her 13th birthday, but they're doing so without the Elk Point girl.
"They gave us some pretty scary numbers, five percent chance of living," Koeppe said.
In February 2011 Payton was diagnosed with Philadelphia chromosome positive ALL, a type of leukemia.
"She had some back pain. She couldn't really eat. She just didn't feel very good, and she spiked a really high fever," Koeppe said.
Over the next almost two years Payton fought the disease. She underwent chemotherapy, radiation, two bone marrow transplants and even tried medications only adults usually take.
"They get a port, which helps get the chemotherapy where it needs to go, and they have to be accessed with a needle every week. That was the hardest part. She was terrified of needles," Koeppe said.
In November of last year Payton lost her battle with cancer. Her mother can't help but think of all the moments she'll miss.
"Kind of the normal thing--watch her go to prom, watch her get married--those types of things," Koeppe said.
While more than 13 hundred children are expected to die this year from cancer, treatment has improved, and more kids are surviving the disease.
"What we're trying to accomplish is first of all overall survival as high as possible as that can be, but also we're looking at survival with healthy outcomes," Sanford Pediatric Oncologist Dr. Kaye Wagner said.
Oncologist Dr. Kaye Wagner says you can help by donating money to research and increasing awareness. Tonight the Falls are lit gold for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Payton's family says there's no other way they'd rather spend their daughter and sister's birthday than helping others going through a similar situation.
"Use her honor and her name to bring more awareness for other children who are going through this," Koeppe said.
The Falls will be lit gold until ten tonight.
For more information on how to donate to childhood cancer research, check out http://www.sanfordhealth.org/About/Foundation/SiouxFalls/CureKidsCancer