Henry County

Henry County cheerleader won’t let cancer diagnosis slow her down

MCDONOUGH, Ga. — A Henry County cheerleader is facing one of her toughest battles, but she is determined not to let it slow her down.

17-year-old Abigail Tatum has an inoperable form brain cancer. She was first diagnosed and treated five years ago, but the cancer has since returned.  

“This morning I had my first intravenous chemotherapy,” Abby told Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen.

Despite having chemo on Friday morning, Abby went to cheerleading practice at Ola High School the same afternoon. 

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“I don’t know how she does it. None of us do. But she does it with grace and she has taken on every single obstacle in her life and done it beautifully,” assistant cheerleading coach Kayla Woodward said.  

“She’s not thinking about what ifs. She is thinking about ways to find a yes instead of a no,” head cheerleading coach Chelsea McCreary said.

Abby has spent the last four years on the varsity squad without missing a game or competition.

“She’s incredibly good. Having brain cancer and being able to do this hard sport, something most people can’t do or push through regular injuries. She does this through brain cancer for the second time. It’s incredible,” teammate Amaya Rivera said.


This season, the Ola Mustangs Football Team decorated their helmets with a gold ribbon with Abby’s initials to mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Abby named her tumor George, and dozens of staff and students at school are showing their support by wearing special T-shirts that say “Not Today, George.”

Abby says her friends on the cheerleading team are like family, and she won’t let them down

“Cheerleading is where I can escape from everything else in the world. When I step on that mat or out on the sidelines, there’s nothing in the world that can stop me.  That’s where I feel safest,” Abby said.

She cheered on the Ola Mustangs at Thursday night’s football game, had chemotherapy Friday morning, cheerleading practice Friday afternoon and will participate in the Starr’s Mill Invitational cheer competition on Saturday.

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