Kelsey Can! Join us in her fight to conquer AML - Leukemia

For: Chris & Lisa Berger
Wappingers Falls, NY
Organizer: Aunts & Uncles
Kelsey Can! Join us in her fight to conquer AML - Leukemia (Chris & Lisa Berger)
$158,235
of $1 goal.
Raised by 1666 donors
100% Complete

The Story

Please help support 5-year-old Kelsey Berger who was diagnosed with AML, an aggressive form of childhood leukemia, on Feb 2, 2017. Kelsey is currently undergoing 9 long months of inpatient chemotherapy at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. All donations will go directly to the Berger family to assist with uninsured medical expenses, daily travel expenses, childcare for Kelsey’s younger brother, and to allow the Berger family to focus all their energy on Kelsey’s immediate care.


Kelsey’s Story

Kelsey Berger is a spirited 5-year-old with a contagious smile and vivid imagination. She loves anything Disney and Trolls, and also has a longing to learn. Kelsey has the ability to leave a lasting impression on anyone that she meets.

Kelsey’s parents noticed a rash on her chest and back and brought her to the doctor. After tests came back negative for strep throat and mono, Kelsey was told she has a virus. Over the next 10 days, the rash didn’t go away and her concerned parents made another 3 visits to different pediatricians. All resulted in the same outcome; a virus. Without any other symptoms, the doctors recommended against blood work or a trip to the ER, but Kelsey’s parents knew something wasn’t right.

She attended Kindergarten the next morning, but not for long, as the nurse called Kelsey’s mother suggesting she had Scarlet Fever. Although Kelsey did not have strep throat or a fever, her mother picked her up and took it upon herself to bring her to the ER for additional blood work. When the results returned, it was clear that something was seriously wrong. Kelsey was immediately transferred by ambulance to the nearest children’s hospital where she was admitted. It was here that she and her family found that their lives were forever changed, as Kelsey was diagnosed with cancer.

On February 2, 2017, Kelsey was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). AML is a rare type of Leukemia affecting about 500 children each year. It is an ugly disease with an uncertain outcome. This diagnosis has shattered Kelsey’s family and has devastated them to the point of disbelief. Because this type of cancer is aggressive, so too is her treatment. Kelsey is just beginning a long, nine-month journey at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y. where she has already begun receiving intense chemotherapy treatments around the clock. Her tiny body has endured surgeries and blood transfusions, in addition to battling fever, nausea, pain and fatigue in a constant fight for her life. She will soon lose her hair, eyebrows and lashes, which is difficult for her to understand. She must wear a mask any time she leaves her hospital room as the very medicine fighting her cancer, is also depleting her ever-weakening immune system. She faces years of intensive and invasive treatment, and essentially a lifetime risk of relapse. Kelsey also has a two-year-old brother who misses his “sissy” and has to adjust to a life of not being with her every day. Her childhood has been stolen from her and her future is now filled with unimaginable uncertainty. She has a challenging road ahead of her but she is not scared of the path. She has taken all of our hands, and we will all walk alongside her until she reaches her very own fairy tale ending.

Please help Kelsey and her family battle this ruthless disease together and ease the burden of everyday expenses. All donations will go directly to the Berger family to assist with uninsured medical expenses, family and household expenses, and travel needs. Thank you all for helping heal the hearts of our family and for showing our little princess that in the end; kindness, love, and family always prevail.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on February 12, 2018

UpdateImage

Posted on February 12, 2018

2/11/18

Kelsey completed her radiation this past week and had a PET scan and a MRI of the brain, spine and pelvic area.

The MRI showed that the lesion on her brain stayed about the same size since the first round of chemotherapy. This is somewhat expected as imaging results in the brain after treatment and surgery will always show “something” (scar tissue, swelling, etc.) regardless of whether or not it is cancerous.

The scans did show potential new lesions that are worrisome, as it suggests progression of her disease in her bone marrow. While this would be a very unusual circumstance due to a recent clear biopsy, the extremely rare and nearly impossible things tend to happen to Kelsey.

The hope is that the lesions are not cancerous and we have been advised to move ahead with transplant number two. Of course a second bone marrow transplant within a 9 month period comes with extreme risks that include life threatening complications. Her conditioning chemotherapy starts on Tuesday and her transplant day is scheduled for February 21st. This time Kelsey will receive cells from a donor and not cord blood, with the hope that the graft vs leukemia effect is stronger. She will have a different conditioning regimen than the first transplant and truthfully she is up against a whole lot. We are amazed that a complete stranger is so selflessly giving us this gift and a chance at a cancer free life for Kelsey. We wish there was a way to personally thank the anonymous individual. Click on the link below for more information on how patients are matched with an unrelated donor.

https://bethematch.org/transplant-basics/matching-patients-with-donors/how-donors-and-patients-are-matched/

As always, we can’t thank her supporters enough. Kelsey is such an amazing girl and she feels your love through the messages and pictures that are shared with her. It truly gives her strength and we’ll forever be grateful to each of you. Please continue to pray for Kelsey that she reaches remission and tolerates her transplant well, so we can hopefully put all of this behind us for good and she can get back to being a six-year-old.

Thanks again for all your love and support,
Chris & Lisa

#kelseyskrusaders #kelseycan

Posted on February 3, 2018

UpdateImage

Posted on February 3, 2018

2/2/18

One year ago today, our lives were forever changed as Kelsey was officially diagnosed with AML. Over the course of that year, Kelsey spent 8 months as an inpatient while the other 4 months were spent either traveling to outpatient appointments, or being stuck at home. In that year, she has had countless procedures and tests, dozens of blood transfusions, 6 central lines placed, brain surgery, 5 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, an allogeneic stem cell transplant and 2 autologous (rescue) transplants. It’s been a long year to say the least!

Where does that leave us now? Kelsey has completed round 2 of her systemic chemo and 10 of 12 radiation sessions. Thankfully, she has tolerated this round of treatments much better than the first! At end of next week, Kelsey will have a MRI of her brain and a PET scan to evaluate her disease status. Provided that Kelsey doesn’t have any active disease in her brain, they are planning to start conditioning for a second bone marrow transplant, which unfortunately, is her only option for overall survival. They have already begun a series of tests in preparation for a second transplant, including a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture that indicated she continues to be disease free in her bone marrow and spinal fluid! We’ll be sure to update you when we have more answers towards the end of next week.

Although this has been an extremely difficult year, Kelsey continues to amaze us. One of the techs the other day asked how long Kelsey has been in the hospital. When told that we were first admitted a year ago, he was floored and said, “You would never know it by the way she flashes that big, beautiful smile.” She is a fighter, an inspiration, and is truly our hero. She longs to come back home to be with her brother and speaks of it often. Knowing Kelsey, she won’t stop fighting until she gets her wish. Both her and her brother’s spirits were lifted when he surprised her for a visit last week. It had been two months since they had last seen each other in person. Needless to say, they didn’t want the visit to end.

As always, we cannot thank you enough for all your love and support. We continue to share with Kelsey each message, comment or picture from her Krusaders. It brings a smile to her face every time! Please keep Kelsey in your prayers next week as we hope once again for complete remission!

Thanks again for all your support,
Chris & Lisa

#kelseyskrusaders #kelseycan

Posted on January 8, 2018

Posted on January 8, 2018

1/7/18

Kelsey has had a long 6 weeks in the hospital. She’s battled countless procedures and surgeries, infection, numerous trips to the PICU and developed an anal fissure, which left her in excruciating pain for a couple of weeks.

She completed both her systemic and intrathecal round of chemotherapy. A recent MRI of her brain revealed that the size of the mass had “moderately decreased” and all the swelling surrounding the lesion had cleared. While this is great news, it also means that because some of the lesion still exists, she will need another round of systemic chemotherapy before her radiation treatments can begin. At this point, each time she has more chemotherapy, she runs a greater risk of life threatening complications and the chance that her blood cells won’t return at all. To compensate for the latter, surgeons placed a tunneled catheter in Kelsey that will serve the purpose of a central line, while allowing the doctors to again collect her own stem cells to reinfuse after her second round of chemo. This is risky because even if there isn’t any proven evidence of leukemia in her bone marrow, we worry that there may be a small undetectable population somewhere in her body. However, it’s a chance we need to take as the alternative could mean that her cells don’t return at all.

The plan is for Kelsey to start round 2 of systemic chemotherapy in the next day or two and then she’ll need 12 sessions of radiation (over 2.5 weeks) in an attempt to hopefully reach remission. At that point, we’ll need to make a decision on how to hopefully find a cure for overall survival.

Although Kelsey faces long odds to be cured, she continues to fight with all her strength. Her precious smile lights up a room and we’re so proud to be her parents. This has been a difficult journey for all of us, but we’ll keep fighting until she’s pain free and back home with her brother (who misses his idol dearly) and our family. Thank you so much for your messages of support, thoughts and especially your prayers. We so greatly appreciate it!

Chris & Lisa

#kelseyskrusaders #kelseycan

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