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 – Ellora

Months before a clear diagnosis, Ellora was experiencing a loss of appetite, night sweats, and oversleeping. For Ellora, these symptoms were seen as normal for her or seen as natural changes in the growth of a 2-year-old. Eventually, she developed little spots on her hands and unexplained bruises on her body, which the doctors deemed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), but after seeing an informative TikTok video on the symptoms Ellora was experiencing, her mom’s gut told her it was something more than a bleeding disorder.

Read More ›

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Samerah

14-year-old Samerah, best known as Sam has been battling quite the challenging journey, but with the love and support of her family, friends, and community she has been able to overcome so much. At the very young age of 2 months old, Sam was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is not an isolated disorder. It causes several different conditions and can lead to the development of tumors on the brain, spine, and the nerves that send signals between the brain and spinal cord.

Read More ›

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Pedro

Strong and optimistic Keaton’s Kiddo Pedro has a heart for soccer and music, and he absolutely loves Chick-Fil-A! Being a teen at just 14 years old, Pedro was sadly diagnosed with a brain tumor called Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma. Hear about Pedro’s journey from his point of view.

Read More ›