During her battle with Osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer), Jackson County 4-H member Olivia Montgomery has leaned on amazing family members, 4-H values, deep faith with the Zion #3 Church family, and a talented Nationwide Children’s Hospital medical staff on her path to recovery.

She is the daughter of Brent and Tisha Montgomery of Wellston and is now considered cancer-free, although she still has some work to do with mobility issues. Brent says she may eventually be able to run because he believes youth and God are on her side.

Brent stated Olivia is the second oldest of his and his wife’s four daughters, with the three others being Bailee, Piper and Hadley.

Olivia's hair is short now due to the cancer treatments, but it is already starting to grow back. Her medical problems started at age 11 with leg pains. One night, they were really bad and her parents took her to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus where she was diagnosed. Olivia was treated from Labor Day 2019 to Memorial Day of 2020.

The Road Back

As Olivia continues to recover, she has been working toward those goals at the Jackson County Fair this past week, as she has been competing in the Western Division of the Horse Show, riding on “Batman.” The show will be held today (Saturday, July 25) at 3 p.m. She is a member of the Hot to Trot and K-9 Clovers 4-H Clubs. She also showed rabbits last Tuesday.

She is hoping to build on her past successes.  

Last year, Olivia showed dogs and horses at the Ohio State Fair. She earned her first championship title with her Mini Australian Shepherd, Reese Cup. On the local level, Olivia will be showing her dog this fall in the Jackson County 4-H Dog Show in the Showmanship, Obedience, Rally and Agility categories. Additionally, Olivia finished sixth in the Ohio State Fair Horse competition last year. The main reason she is still riding horses is because she has done so since she was very young. If it were not for that, Brent stated, doctors probably would not allow her to do so. 

Courage and Determination; 4-H Values

Jackson County Ohio State 4-H Extension Educator Erin Dailey points out Olivia’s desire is a big part of 4-H values. 

“We want to provide opportunities for youth to show their abilities -- while giving them confidence,” said Dailey. She also stated the process is lifelong and teaches young people unfortunate happenings do occur and they have to find the strength to overcome them. She stated, “Olivia is a good case in point of how to do it.”

Marching in Band Driving her Courage

The Wellston City Schools is also appreciative of a student showing such outward determination, the same type of thing the district highlights in its set of core values.

Superintendent Karen Boch stated, “Olivia is a student who people like and respect and we’re proud to have her represent Wellston High School (WHS) in the band. She is very courageous and I have never heard anyone say a bad word about her. We are all pulling for her.”

 Boch also stated many of Montgomery’s fellow students have shown her friendship and support. Olivia is working hard to walk, march and hopefully run. Marching is important to Olivia because of the band. She is looking forward to high school game performances and parades, where she will play the flute.

Strong Faith, Church Family, God's and Grandma's Help 

Brent explained he is proud of his family and the Zion #3 Church members who have rallied for Olivia. When asked if he believes in angels, he said yes. He works in the construction industry and when Olivia was going to Nationwide Children's Hospital, his work site was close by.  

He also noted her sisters have rallied behind her and call her “Princess”. He stated while the girls understand Olivia has needed more time, he and Tisha have worked hard to spend time with all the girls and have given them their special moments. They also thank Grandma Lauren Jenkins, a retired registered nurse, for all she has done for Olivia as well.

Brent stated their Christian faith has brought them a long way as a family. He wants to thank the schools, organizations, people and churches for all the assistance, prayers and encouragement they have provided.

Zion #3 Pastor Josh Landrum told The Telegram Olivia’s recovery is a miracle and the church members credit the power of God.

“The church is a tool, but we give the credit for her recovery to Jesus Christ,” said the pastor. He also stated the church members have raised money for Olivia by selling T-shirts.  

Making Dreams Come True

Olivia's sisters are hoping she becomes the next Amberley Snyder, who has a movie on Netflix about her called Walk, Ride, Rodeo. She is a paralyzed world-champion barrel racer. The worldwide Make a Wish organization affords children over the age of two who have cancer, the opportunities to partake in a desired activity -- and Olivia has a special request.

Her wish is to meet Snyder and to go on a Disney cruise. The plans were put on hold due to COVID-19, but as soon as things open up, she will get to meet Amberley and go on that cruise.

Through it all, Brent feels his daughter has witnessed the power of love and faith. He and his wife thank their employers for allowing them some flexibility, and all the people who are keeping Olivia on the mend.

“I definitely believe in angels and we are blessed,” Brent concluded.