Leah is 8 years old. When she was 4 years old she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had 2 surgeries – one year apart on the same day. The ﬁrst surgery was 13 hours, and the second, a year later was 4 hours. Leah’s anxiety started after her diagnosis. She was very afraid and had lost her trust in the medical ﬁeld.
Less than a year after her second surgery, Leah mentioned wanting to do karate. It was soon after that the family found Kids Kicking Cancer and joined the program. Kids Kicking Cancer has helped Leah in so many ways – it is way more than just karate.
Leah’s mom told us that it used to take 5-6 people to hold Leah down for MRI’s. The medications they gave her took so long to work because Leah was so upset that she couldn’t calm.
Things changed when Kids Kicking Cancer oﬀered to have Sensei Michael come with Leah to her MRI appointments. Sensei Michael helps her power breathe and the meds work so much faster for her. Leah’s mom told us that Sensei Michael is such a comfort to her – he can give Leah “something that we as her mom and dad cannot.” Leah has total trust in Sensei Michael. He just calms her.
Leah also feels totally supported and special with her friends that she’s met through Kids Kicking Cancer. She feels like they “get it”. When Leah ﬁrst told her class at school about her brain tumor one little boy said, “ooh gross.” This made Leah feel very sad and different. When she’s with her friends from Kids Kicking Cancer, Leah feels special – she doesn’t feel “gross or different.”
Leah’s mom also told us that they’ve gotten to do a lot of really cool stuﬀ that the whole family can participate in, and that it brings them together as a family. Leah tells the neighborhood all about the program – she invited her friends in the neighborhood to her belting ceremony.
Kids Kicking Cancer empowers Leah and gives her conﬁdence that she needs to help her ﬁght.