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

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Pedro

Strong and optimistic Pedro has a heart for soccer and music, and he absolutely loves Chick-Fil-A!

“It was 10:00 am on August 20th, 2021. Up until that time, I lived a life that most people would call normal. I was an athlete with good grades getting ready for my freshman year of high school. I had just moved from Seattle to Sacramento, chasing the sun with my lovely family. Everything seemed perfect.

However, all it took was one weird day at school for my life to turn upside down. While playing some casual badminton in gym class, I suddenly noticed I wasn’t able to see things like I used to. Long story short, the next day I was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was sitting right on top of my optic nerve. Lying in that uncomfortable bed in the ER, I could barely process what was going on. I kept hearing complicated words from different doctors while my parents were both concerned. Honestly, the seriousness of the situation never really got to me. My mom constantly said I was “strong, optimistic and calm” during the first couple months.

Then again, I felt like I hit a new low. Despite my effort to keep myself together, my first chemotherapy session hit me harder than ever. Reality had set in. That’s when the Keaton’s team helped me to keep pushing. One day I received a gift basket at my doorstep with personalized goodies for my little brother and I. The hope chest was the first of many times that Keaton’s has supported me throughout my journey. My family got various invitations to fun events that were held specifically for me and other kids fighting child cancer. Because of Keaton’s, I never felt alone. Their support meant the world to me and my family, and I don’t know how well I would have coped without Keaton’s Child Cancer Alliance.

Today, after 2 years of chemotherapy and multiple brain surgeries, I am a new person. I am driven to do better, and help kids going through the same hardship. I know it’s ironic, but surviving this treatment has truly helped me. Experiencing cancer first hand brought a new world view into perspective, and has motivated me to spread awareness to others. Many people don’t know what it is like for a kid to lose part of their childhood because of something they cannot control, and I hope my story helps people understand what it means to suffer from child cancer.”

At almost 16 years old, Pedro now gets to celebrate the remission stage of his cancer journey! His compassion and heart only continues to grow. Pedro recently reached out to join our Keaton’s Teen Alliance group and hopes to mentor other kiddos who are battling childhood cancer and provide them with a sense of encouragement. No kid should ever have to fight alone and we are eternally grateful for our amazing kiddos, like Pedro, who show so much love and support for others within our Keaton’s family.

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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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.

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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.

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