Realizing Futures

2017 PCRF Scholarship Awardee: Kelby

Each one of our 2017 PCRF Scholarship Awardees are Cancer Warriors who share their journeys with us in hopes that you too become aware of the need for a cure.

2017 Scholarship Awardee: Kelby

We’d like you to meet Kelby, a 4-time cancer survivor who never gave up hope.


“For a long time, my parents had no idea that anything was wrong. While to my aunt, it was extremely obvious.

“When you see your child every day, small changes or growth in anything is hard to notice. So much so that we had to take her to a mirror in order to see what we were missing. That’s when we started taking pictures every day, to track the growth.” To a parent of an eighteen-month-old child, things are constantly growing. This makes it harder to notice that something is different, something that would one day be a tumor in your daughter’s cheek and adrenal gland.

My aunt, quite possibly, saved my life. After being in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and a stem cell transplant, eventually I went into remission.

I was healthy for nine months before my parents noticed the swelling. By now it became easier for my parents to see the signs that alerted them that something was wrong. I suppose paranoia would set in once you’ve learned that this type of cancer has a high chance of relapsing. The cancer was back and I was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, this time in my jaw. My parents opted out of chemotherapy, “We wanted her to enjoy every minute of the time she had left.” Thankfully radiation was enough to send me back into remission.

Another fact about high-risk neuroblastoma – the victim of such disease has even less of a chance of survival if they are over a year old. And even more so if the cancer relapsed. As for me, I relapsed three times – 2 years later doctors found cancer in my arm after falling off my bike, and finally in the lymph node underneath my arm – making me a 4-time cancer fighter by the time I was in first grade.

Each time the doctors told my parents I had zero chance of survival.

Against all odds, I beat that cancer for the fourth time. I have been cancer-free for almost twelve years now. I am seventeen and a senior in high school. Against all odds, I am still alive. Hope is not something to give up. 

My parents never gave up hope for me, even when they thought I might die. To give up hope is essentially to give up in general. With hope, one feels a sort of humble empowerment. You know you do not have control, but you can’t help feeling that things will eventually get better.

Hope makes life easier. Without it, we are helpless. We can’t function.

Today, I am a walking miracle.”

You have the power to help kids, like Kelby, become cancer-free. Help us continue our fight to find a cure.

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When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change. – Annette Funicello