Honored Kid

Avery Kate Leachman

Age 20
Avery Kate Leachman Kid Photo


Louisville, KY, US


Papillary Carcinoma

Date of Diagnosis

May 2012



Treated At

Kosair Children's Hospital, Norton Healthcare

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My Story

I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma in May 2012, just before my 9th birthday. My mom and dad saw a big lump on my throat on Mother's Day. We went to see a bunch of doctors that week and 8 days later I had surgery to remove my thyroid and 32 lymph nodes in my neck. It lasted 6 hours and I was pretty scared! When my mom and dad told me I had cancer, I was freaked out. But they also said I had the "easy kind" of cancer so that made me feel better. That meant my cancer was curable and I wouldn't have to have chemotherapy. I also learned that only 1 in every one million kids under age 10 have thyroid cancer....Wow! In June, I went to the hospital for my treatment. I had to take a BIG radioactive iodine pill (I learned a bunch of big words that I'd never heard before!). The doctor told my parents it was like a "heat seeking missile" that would find the thyroid cells that carried cancer around my body and zap them. Because the pill had radiation in it, I had to stay away from everybody (including my brother and my parents) for three days. I got a little sick the first day, and watched a bunch of movies in my room for the rest of the time. I was so happy when I finally got to hug my mom and dad and see my brother, Max, again! Oh and I was on this diet for almost 2 weeks before my treatment where I couldn't eat anything with iodine in it...which is pretty much everything! I could eat grilled chicken, fresh fruit and vegetables. No milk, no bread, no ice cream!! NO FUN. :) But after my treatment my mom got a Subway sandwich for me and my dad made bacon...two of my favorite things! A week after my treatment, I went back to the hospital for a scan to see if the pill zapped the cells it was supposed to. Luckily, it worked. I was really happy (and so was my family)!!! So now, it's just a bunch of tests. Doctors can tell what's going on in my body by looking at my blood. I go to the hospital and have my blood drawn a few times a month. At first, I gave the nurses (and my mom) a really hard time when they brought out the needles. It took 5 nurses and my mom to hold me down on that first draw. But every time we go back, things get better. I am still really scared of needles, but now I don't even cry. I just get sweaty palms and take deep breaths. (Plus there's this thing called a j-tip that numbs the spot where the needle goes in....that helps a lot!). Anyway, my story is a "good" cancer story...even though my mom says there are no good cancer stories. It's been hard, but I know there are other kids with cancer who have to go through much worse. I'm lucky but I know others aren't so lucky. I pray a lot for kids at Kosair who have cancer. Thank you for raising money to find cures for those kids, and for other kids like me.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

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