Hope, Strength, and Healing for families coping with a child cancer diagnosis

Meet Keaton Kiddo ~ Mack

I would like to thank you for always checking up on us that really means a lot to me. Sometimes I sit by myself and feel so alone. This is a very tough battle and just knowing that people care means so much.” 

~ Leah (Mack’s Mom)

Meet Mack, a 17 years old, bright young man, who enjoys playing with his Xbox and Play Station 4. On July 28, 2019, Mack and his family received the tragic news that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in the bones or the soft tissues around the bones. Months after receiving his diagnosis at a local Bay Area Hospital, Mack and his family were referred to Keaton’s on January 22nd, 2020. Upon his initial referral, Mack had already begun his chemotherapy and radiation treatments and since being referred to Keaton’s, his family has allowed Keaton’s Family Navigators to be a part of their journey.

Aside from his cancer, Mack’s family has faced many other challenges as a result of the pandemic. With Mack’s mother being the primary support and caregiver, she sadly faced many financial stressors when her work hours were forced to decrease. As a result, the family was left without support and faced much uncertainty of what to do or where to turn to next. After initially being denied government assistance, Mack’s mother turned to Keaton’s, in hopes of receiving some type of support and relief of financial burdens. Thankfully, our Family Navigator Team has been able to support Mack’s family with a financial grant, gas cards, food cards, and a personalized Hope Chest and emotional support.

Through the course of his cancer journey, Mack has experienced difficulties including sinus infections, headaches, and overall effects on his vision. As of today, Mack continues to put up a fight against Childhood Cancer, stronger than ever. Recently, he attempted to be a part of a clinical trial, but after four cycles was ultimately rejected due to the progression of his diagnosis. As resilient as he is, he attempted to be a part of another clinical trial in Santa Monica. Unfortunately, that trial was cut short after Mack began to experience severe shortness of breath and was rushed back to his local treatment hospital. Once he arrived at the hospital, his medical team found and removed 3.5 liters of fluids from Mack’s body.

Over the past few months, Mack has spent time most of his time in and out of the ICU. With his mother by his side, he continues to fight and is now receiving Palliative Chemotherapy. Keaton’s Family Navigator Team remains in this fight together with Mack and his family as we continue to be a support throughout their journey.

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – MJ

May of 2021 started like any other month. Our family was enjoying the warm weather and spending time with friends and family. Unfortunately, May was the month that our world would change in a way we never expected.

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Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Yazmine

During the week of July 17th, 2023, Yazmine hadn’t been herself.  She’d been running fevers on and off and wasn’t eating.  She had no energy and only wanted to sleep.  Then, on July 19th, her dad’s birthday, we decided that I would take her to the ER for a quick check up and be back in time to make a birthday dinner.  Little did we know everything would change on that day.  

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Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Kodiak

In the Fall of 2023, Keaton’s Kiddo Kodiak was diagnosed with two rare and aggressive forms of cancer: Mixed Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) and Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) also known as ‘preleukemia.’

Their journey began one year earlier, in the Fall of 2022, when Kodiak was struck with a series of different seasonal illnesses. Kodiak’s mom Tonya shares: “In September, he got COVID, and then in November it was the flu, and then December RSV.”

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