Kennedy Rae Urban was born on Feb. 5, 2012, but only 18 months after parents Kevin and Melissa Urban of Castaic had welcomed her into their family, they noticed she had lost her appetite, seemed fatigued and generally was not feeling well.
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Melissa Urban said she thought it might be teething at first and doctors assured her it was nothing.
But the symptoms didn’t go away. Eventually Kennedy was crying in pain, and Urban brought her into Urgent Care.
“I just knew as a mother there was something else going on,” she said.
Kennedy was transferred to the Northridge Hospital Emergency Room and then to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where she underwent “every test you could possibly imagine,” including ultrasounds, CT scans, blood work and a bone scan, Urban said.
The eventual diagnosis came on July 30–Stage 4 High-risk Neuroblastoma, a form of cancer that affects the nervous system and can cause tumors in the adrenal glands, bones, skin, liver and lymph nodes, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine website.
“It’s a rare cancer,” Urban said. “…the doctors say they only see about 500 kids in the United States a year that get it.”
Since the diagnosis, Kennedy has been given three rounds of chemotherapy, in addition to seven blood transfusions and three platelet transfusions.
To help cover future transfusions that Kennedy will need during chemotherapy, The Paseo Club is hosting a community blood drive organized by Children’s Hospital L.A., between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 3.
Kennedy’s blood type of O+, and all matching donations will be reserved specifically for her transfusions.
Any other donations will used for children like Kennedy at Children’s Hospital L.A.
“There are quite a few children that I’ve met since Kennedy has been (at Children’s Hospital), that also have neuroblastoma,” Urban said.
While there is a fund set up for Kennedy, and several websites where friends and family can get updates, Urban said that she is focusing more on awareness than fundraising right now.
“September happens to be Childhood Cancer Month, and a lot of people don’t know that,” she said.
And while a lot of attention is often focused on breast cancer and other adult cancers, Urban wants to remind the community that “there’s little babies out there that get this, too. Not just adults have to go through the treatment. Kennedy will go through almost the same exact treatment that an adult would.”
Those who cannot attend the blood drive or who would like to help the Urban family with medical expenses, can donate to their PayPal fund here.
The family has also created a CaringBridge website with updates on Kennedy’s treatment.
Urban expects that their family will continue fundraising and raising awareness for children’s cancer in the years to come.
“My husband and I are hoping that when this is all said and done we can set up a fund in her name,” she said, “so we can help other families.”
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Source: Santa Clarita News