Peyton "Tuff Girl" Watson has a game plan for fighting cancer. Last fall the 10-year-old fifth grader designed and sold T-shirts bearing her nickname in honor of her maternal grandmother who has been a breast cancer patient at MD Anderson in Katy for the past five years. Full proceeds, $2,600, went to Nikesh Jasani, M.D., associate professor, General Oncology, and medical director at MD Anderson's Katy location.
Peyton plays wide receiver and safety for her team, the Spartans, in a youth tackle football league in Katy. The league's only female player this year, she's been making national headlines, most recently for winning a trip to Super Bowl 50 as part of the "Today" show's "Together We Make Football" series. But she says her grandmother, who gave her the nickname, is the strong one.
"Meme is really the Tuff Girl. She says she's proud of me, but I'm proud of her," says Peyton.
Peyton's mom, Tracy Watson, explains how the T-shirt sales came to be.
"Every 10 weeks, my mom would get chemo, and her white blood cell count got very low," Tracy says. "Peyton overheard me telling a friend, 'Mom couldn't take her treatment today,' and thought it was because of financial reasons."
When Peyton asked Tracy what she could do to help raise money, Tracy explained that the issue wasn't about finances, but Peyton was determined to lend support to the institution providing her grandmother's care.
Soon the concept of selling T-shirts was born, and Peyton crafted a design on her own. Though the campaign reached its initial goal in less than a month, the T-shirts are still available at www.tuffgirlpeyton.com.
"We love MD Anderson," Tracy says. "They've given my mom these extra five years."