February’s Warrior – Kyra

In February 2016, Kyra became unwell. She started getting fevers all the time and experiencing excruciating pain in her legs. She lost a lot of weight and always had dark circles around her eyes. She made several visits to the local hospital (2 hours from her home), where the doctors concluded she had a virus. But after a gruelling 6 weeks Kyra’s mum insisted she be transferred to PMH where she underwent an MRI, a bone density scan, an ultra sound and X-rays which were all inconclusive. Finally, a bone marrow biopsy diagnosed Kyra with Pre B Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, on April Fool’s Day.

She’s been in treatment ever since, and is now in the maintenance phase which will last until she completes treatment on June 7th 2018. She has monthly visits to the hospital and takes oral chemo at home every day, as well as regular IV treatments and intrathecal chemo (injected into the spinal fluid via lumbar puncture) every 3 months.

Kyra is now 10, and unfortunately always falls into the small percentage of kids that have severe side effects from treatment. First, her heart would beat at a very high rate so she had to be closely monitored during treatment. Then she suffered stroke-like symptoms from the high doses of chemo given during her lumbar punctures – she was sent for an MRI which confirmed mild brain damage. Because of this, her chemo was changed for a while, but she had to go back to the original drug when she started maintenance. Her liver struggled to cope with the high doses of another chemo drug, and although they lowered the dose for a while, it has now been increased again as higher doses lead to better outcomes. The muscles in her legs struggled to hold her up when she walked, so she kept collapsing all the time and needed a wheelchair.

But Kyra always pulls through and never gives up fighting. She takes everything in her stride, always makes the most out of a bad situation, and does it all with the biggest, most infectious smile on her gorgeous face. Her nickname is ‘Smiling Princess Warrior’, and it’s easy to see why!

Kyra loves bunnies – they are her most favourite thing in the world. She also loves problem solving and loves to do Lego and puzzles. She loves a challenge. She also loves to cook – she wants to be a chef when she is older. She bakes biscuits, cupcakes and cakes with no help!

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