30 DAYS/30 STORIES® 2020
Our story isn't new, but in case we have not met, this is Kyle, my19 year old son…two time cancer survivor. Kyle and our entire family have been part of the pediatric cancer world for 16 years now.
When Kyle's little brother Jack was due to be born and his older brother Chris was about to get on the Kindergarten bus, Kyle was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 3. Kyle went through surgery, received two chemotherapy drugs weekly for a year and was deemed cancer free.
In a very unusual recurrence 8 years later, Kyle was diagnosed with the same cancer at age 11. This time the treatment was described by his oncologist as "grueling, debilitating and life altering"…and it was. Kyle endured multiple surgeries, received six different chemotherapy drugs, a month of daily proton radiation and countless blood and platelet transfusions. (Please remember to donate blood and platelets if you can…it’s truly life-saving!)
Kyle continues now with life as an adult survivor. Kyle faces challenges that are different from most of his peers. He has side effects that are ongoing and life altering. Kyle will be monitored for heart function annually as one of his drugs can lead to heart failure. Hormone levels are continually monitored as his treatment causes sterility and other hormone-related secondary effects. Secondary cancers also remain a risk for childhood cancer survivors.
While none of us have any guarantee of tomorrow, having an adult survivor is a gift. Kyle has an insight and an inner peace within him that is beyond his years. He has gained tremendous perspective after processing through life's most difficult challenge at such a young age. We can all learn and live through these angels among us. They had no choice but to be strong and push through. Watching Kyle handle everything that is thrown at him is a lesson in grace and courage.
PCFLV provided us, throughout many years, with exactly what we needed…between gas gift cards to drive to Philadelphia every day to meals at the hospital when we were there for weeks at a time. They also provided and continue to provide the ultimate gift of family support from others going through this disease process with their children. Kyle was also the recipient of the PCFLV scholarship last year which aided him in pursuing his dream of a Music Degree from West Chester University. Kyle continues to be a ray of hope for all of those just starting this journey.
Written by his mom, Jill