Teen battling cancer gets surprise shopping spree before return to school

**Embargo: Portland, Ore.** A life-changing medical condition caused a Lake Oswego teen to miss a full year of school. But now, after months of battling cancer, Brenna Messner is ready to head back to class.

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — A life-changing medical condition caused a Lake Oswego teen to miss a full year of school. But now, after months of battling cancer, Brenna Messner is ready to head back to class.

A national nonprofit wanted to send her back in style, so it set up a surprise shopping spree for the high school junior at Burlington department store in Beaverton on Friday.

Brenna and her mom, Melissa, walked the store’s aisles searching for cute clothes to add to her back-to-school wardrobe.

The shopping spree was organized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The 16-year-old softball player was diagnosed with leukemia her freshman year of high school.

“It showed up as a golf ball-sized tumor between my brain and scull,” Brenna said.

According to the organization, leukemia and lymphoma affect 6,000 school-age kids every year. So, the fact that Brenna is now able to return to school is a huge milestone.

And, it’s something for which she fought hard.

“I don’t know if I became stronger, but I think I found the strength in me that I already had. I just didn’t know it yet,” she said.

Brenna, who is a student at Lake Oswego High School, underwent brain surgery, chemotherapy and rounds of radiation.

She missed out on a lot, including homecoming, while undergoing treatment and says she is now making up for lost time.

She recently went to summer camp and just this month, got her driver’s license.

But, Brenna is also taking time to give back. She is offering support to those who are currently battling cancer.

Her advice to them, “Try to find the light in the darkness, because cancer is a pretty dark place.”

Brenna tells FOX 12 she is grateful for the people she met while being treated for her disease.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will present Brenna with a hero award at its upcoming Light the Night Walk. The event is Oct. 27 at OMSI. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to lls.org.