Kiara loves spending time with her siblings, Kylie and Jameson. The kids are busy trying to decide what they’ll be for Halloween this year. Kiara uses a wheelchair and would like to incorporate it into her costume. The siblings talk excitedly about trick-or-treating and all of the candy they’ll get.
It’s a world away from Halloween two years ago, when Kiara’s family was worried about her health.
In October 2014, Kiara developed headaches that worsened over time. When Halloween arrived, she had trouble keeping her balance as she trick-or-treated. Her parents took her to the ER, where tests revealed a mass on her brain. Kiara underwent surgery in Arizona to remove the tumor, but knowing Kiara would need continuing treatment, her family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
At St. Jude, Kiara’s tumor was identified as a medulloblastoma. Her treatment included seven rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation therapy. Kiara is now finished with treatment and visits St. Jude for regular checkups. “St. Jude is forever written in our hearts,” said Kiara’s dad. “We love the friendships we made there. We’ll forever spread the message of what a wonderful place St. Jude is.”
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent since we opened more than 50 years ago. St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent, and we won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.