4-year-old diagnosed with rare form of kidney cancer
On. Jan. 3, when 4-year-old Kennedi Hay of Alexandria told her mother that her stomach hurt, the word "cancer" never crossed Bobbi Hay's mind. Bobbi called the clinic, and when they couldn't get Kennedi in for an appointment, she resorted to a tr...
On. Jan. 3, when 4-year-old Kennedi Hay of Alexandria told her mother that her stomach hurt, the word "cancer" never crossed Bobbi Hay's mind.
Bobbi called the clinic, and when they couldn't get Kennedi in for an appointment, she resorted to a trip to the ER due to Kennedi's pain. After doing routine testing, all Kennedi's results were normal. But Bobbi pushed to have her daughter's appendix checked, as she thought this could be the source of the discomfort.
But instead of a burst appendix, the ultrasound revealed masses on Kennedi's kidney and in her abdomen.
"From there we were told the masses look like cancer and we were sent by ambulance down to Children's Hospital that same evening," Bobbi recalled.
Bobbi's husband, Trevor, and their son, Zach, followed the ambulance to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. Once they arrived, the Hays were met by an oncologist. A CT scan was done, and a mass "the size of a Nerf football" was found on Kennedi's kidney, enlarged to the point that the kidney almost wasn't visible. Doctors then decided the best course of action was to operate immediately.
"The surgeon decided they needed to take it out right away," Bobbi said. "She had surgery Friday (Jan. 6) and the surgery was successful. They were able to remove the whole right kidney and the mass that they believe to be a lymph node. They also took out a couple other lymph nodes to check for cancer as well."
On Thursday, Jan. 12, the Hays family received a more specific diagnosis: Kennedi has clear cell sarcoma, an uncommon type of kidney cancer. At first, doctors were unsure this was her diagnosis because she had no cancerous masses anywhere else in the body.
"A characteristic that goes with these types of sarcomas is that there's usually cancer somewhere in the brain, lungs or bones, and all of those have come back clear," Bobbi said.
Doctors are hopeful for Kennedi, but in order to treat the clear cell sarcoma, she will need to undergo radiation and chemotherapy every three weeks for at least six months.
Throughout this whole process, Bobbi says they have remained honest with Kennedi about what is happening.
"I don't know if she really knows what is going on," Bobbi said. "She just keeps saying, 'I want to go home' and 'I'm scared.' We're so scared, too, that we don't really know what to say to her. She does know that she has cancer. We told her that."
According to Bobbi, Kennedi has remained in good spirits and even has enjoyed her time at Children's because of the activities available for kids.
"They've got so much to do," Bobbi said. "There's people coming in all the time, games, books. So if you can find a silver lining, it's been fun for her here."
Another silver lining in this series of events is the outpouring of love and support the Hay family has received. When Bobbi realized she would be at Children's and miss her son's 12th birthday, she sent out a Facebook request asking people to please send him cards and was overwhelmed with the response.
"It has gone crazy," she said. "He's probably going to get like 300 cards. It's spread like wildfire. They're going to come from New Zealand and Uganda and all over the United States. How do you thank everybody? I don't even know where to start."
Updates on Kennedi's condition can be found on her GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/team-kk-all-the-way , and an account has also been set up in her name at Viking Bank in Alexandria.