Honored Kid

Kaela A. Bechtold

Age 20
Kaela A. Bechtold Kid Photo

Location

Clayton, NC, US

Diagnosis

Brain or spinal cord tumor

Date of Diagnosis

December 2011

Status

In remission

Treated At

Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center

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My Story

Kaela is a smart, beautiful, courageous young girl. She loves music and art. She plays the clarinet in the school band and is currently taking guitar lessons. She loves school, friends, and going to our church’s youth group activities. Most of all she enjoys serving others. She went on a mission trip this past summer and is looking forward to participating this year. In late Spring of 2011, Kaela started to favor her right hand more than usual. Over the course of this past summer she stopped using her left hand unless she was told to. Even then, she struggled. She seemed to have lost some strength. As the summer progressed, we noticed her walk appeared awkward. By September, she had more of a limp, but she did not always limp. Kaela is 12 and is quickly developing into a young lady. Some of the signals were assumed to be hormones or a growth spurt. In other words, it seemed perhaps...normal. Yet we were very concerned. We picked up on a change in her smile. She smiled deeper on the right side of her face. She struggled with fine motor skills like buttoning a shirt or coat. We made an appointment with the Pediatrician immediately. We visited the pediatrician in early November. After seeing Kaela, the pediatrician referred us to a neurologist. We visited with one on a Thursday. Once the neurologist evaluated Kaela, he scheduled us for an MRI the following day. We had the 1st set of many MRI's done. Once the MRI was complete, the neurologist met with us. He showed us the results. The images showed a mass in her brain. The mass appeared to be pressing against her brain stem. This was the cause of Kaela's symptoms. The news was shocking. Kaela was there with us. All we can say is she is one brave little girl. We should say big girl. The neurologist informed us there was a pediatric neurosurgeon in the building. He had spoken with the doctor and the doctor agreed to see us. This could be considered a coincidence. We know it was one of God's many blessings. The neurosurgeon met with us and provided some information and guidance. He let us know that the mass was likely a tumor and the next step would be a biopsy. We had the biopsy done in early December. We received the results of the biopsy approximately one week later. The mass is a Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma. We proceeded with surgery in early January 2012. The surgeon was able to remove approximately half of the tumor. Kaela is now undergoing chemotherapy treatments. She will undergo treatment for 10 months. Kaela is an exceptional girl. She does not seem phased by the challenges she has faced and continues to face. She presses on with an enthusiasm for life. I love her more than can be expressed or put into words.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

Who's Honoring Me

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Children who are fighting or have fought cancer inspire others to be part of the Foundation's mission — to support the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

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