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

Meet Keaton’s Kiddo – Samerah

Samerah, best known as Sam, loves SpongeBob, Princess and the Frog, and McDonald’s.

This loving kiddo has been battling quite a 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.

Soon after her Neurofibromatosis diagnosis, Sam was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. For the next couple of years, her loving mom worked tirelessly to support her through her stages of development and that is where mom’s focus stayed until a tumor was found on Sam’s brain stem at the age of 5, and soon after, another was found on her spine as well. After multiple treatments between different care hospitals, Sam and her family were thankfully introduced to Keaton’s earlier this month.

Since being referred to our Program, Sam’s Family Navigator has had the opportunity to connect with Sam’s mom through phone calls and even spent some time with her and Sam in person when delivering our customized Hope Chest to Sam and her older sister. Sam’s Hope Chest came with a personalized snuggle blanket, playdoh and slime for sensory playtime, super cool SpongeBob Legos, and a unique Funko Pop from Princess and the Frog! These items brought so much joy to Sam, and maybe even more to her mom! Her mom was filled with love and joy knowing that Keaton’s put so much thought into making her daughters happy.

After hearing about the amazing effort Sam’s mom has put into her daughter’s education and development, Keaton’s also gifted the family an Aflac Duck, which is an interactive duck for medical play and emotional growth. Mom explained that it can be challenging for Sam to identify and express her emotions and plans to utilize this to help Sam do just that.

Our hearts are full at Keaton’s knowing that we get to make a difference for each and every child that is fighting a brave fight against childhood cancer. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the journey!

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 – 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.

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