When our daughter Kaela was diagnosed with Osteo-sarcoma (Bone Cancer) just before her fifth birthday January 2007, I remember feeling the weight of the world upon us. We just wanted to hold it together and stay strong for Kaela.
She began treatment at The Bristol Meyers Squibb Children’s Hospital and, shortly after, had an above-the-knee amputation on her left leg. That was May 2007. Meeting with the team of doctor’s and specialists, the barrage of blood tests, the X-Rays, the MRIs and CT Scans were overwhelming. What were we going to do? How are you supposed to cope with this?
Every time Kaela came home from the hospital, we’d never unpack all the way. There were times when she would be readmitted the day that she came home because a fever sprung up out of nowhere. She was so weak from all the treatments, the scans and just the entire hospital atmosphere, that she was sick more often than not. Even just a runny nose or a tummy ache caused worry, because they might be the symptoms to something worse.
Kaela wasn’t the only one left with a scar from her battle. It took a toll on our family as well. Imagine what it would be like to have your little girl in the hospital, and know that there is nothing you can do, but hope and pray that she gets better. Our patience was put to the test for thirteen months, and for thirteen months, we NEVER lost hope. Waiting is the one thing our family dreaded, but that was most important that we do. In hindsight, this experience brought us closer together as a family and taught us never to take things for granted. When you are so close to losing everything, you cherishing every moment together. Kaela is a brave little girl and a beacon of hope to everyone who crosses her path.
We met Mike and Sherrie Wells from the Hugs for Brady Foundation at the home of our good friends, the Volpe family, while shooting an episode for HGTV’s Cousins Undercover for their family. Johnny Volpe battled Pre B Cell Lymphoma in 2009. Brady, Kaela and Johnny all received treatment at the Bristol Meyers Squibb Children’s Hospital. We have seen first hand the impact of the contributions that Hugs for Brady has had to families battling childhood cancer. We are blessed to have met such wonderful people and support their goal to end childhood cancer.
Today, Kaela continues to shine in school as well as outside. She is an A+ honor roll student and loves to swim, play the piano and is in the leadership program in martial arts. At parties, she loves to co-host and decorates. She is also quite the social butterfly and wears her battle scars proudly. We are so proud of her for everything she does and continues to do. She seems to surprise everybody even if it’s just the simple things like reaching the top shelf in the cabinet or carrying all her gear to class.
Thank you for supporting Hugs for Brady and we hope that you find the courage and strength we found in Kaela – Our Hero and a Cancer Survivor.
We Must Find a Cure!