Meet Kathryn Stewart, Our 2017 Hero
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela
We come across strong people everyday, heroes, but there are times you meet or hear a story about one individual that really puts the phrase ‘being a fighter’ into perspective. Meet one of our 2017 heros, Fashion Heals Patient Ambassador and model, Kathryn Stewart.
Kathryn’s story is one of incredible strength, courage, resilience and pure bravery. Kathryn was born on 23rd March 2003 (belated Happy Birthday Kathryn).
In June 2008, Kathryn was unwell and was rushed to her family doctor where she was diagnosed with a tumor in her abdomen. She was immediately admitted to SickKids hospital for further examination and investigation, where she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system that occurs in children. Neuroblastoma is known to be difficult to diagnose due to the vagueness of the symptoms.
The tumor had already spread to her bone marrow by the time she arrived at SickKids. Her treatment lasted two weeks, where she underwent chemotherapy as well as surgery to remove the tumor. Further treatment in December 2008 and January 2009 included stem cell transplants which required her to remain in isolation for 3 months. Her treatment was followed by 12 rounds of radiation which resulted in a happy result of remission in April 2009.
Due to the sensitivity of her immune system, Kathryn was home schooled for most of Grade 1. In March 2010, Kathryn went back to school and was ecstatic about being with her friends and living a sense of normality.
Five months later, in August 2010, the cancer had returned, this time in her spine. The treatment was immediate, chemotherapy in September 2010. After 15 sessions of chemotherapy and several sessions of radiation, she entered remission again.
Kathryn underwent immunotherapy between September 2012 and February 2013, which required her to be an inpatient either one or two weeks every month.
Kathryn’s daily prayer has been that the cancer would stay away so she could be a normal kid.
Six years later for the first time, Kathryn ‘s life returned to some sense of normality. She played soccer and won the award for the league for Girls under 10 for enthusiasm. Kathryn graduated from Grade 5 in the spring of 2014, she excelled in all her subjects and continued to follow her passion of soccer.
In September 2014, after 30 months of remission, the cancer had returned. The treatment followed and she returned to remission. After a year, the cancer returned again and Kathryn underwent further treatment in the fall of 2015. The scans showed a further relapse in May 2016, Kathryn is currently under going chemotherapy at SickKids.
Kathryn’s bravery and strength has seen her through 41 rounds of chemotherapy, 22 rounds of radiation, nearly 20 surgeries, 2 bone marrow transplants and 6 months of immunotherapy at SickKids.
Kathryn and her family have embraced every moment and celebrated every day. She is looking forward to graduating from Grade 8 and starting high school in September 2017.
Kathryn is a true fighter. Her journey cannot be summarized into a word or statement but rather a true example of someone who we can learn from, admire and look up to.
Join Kathryn on Thursday April 20th, as she models at our annual Fashion Heals Event. We cannot wait to meet and celebrate this amazing individual, fighter and true soldier.