KYLE MALCOTT

Kyle is 13 years old and loves all sports, soccer being his favorite to play, as well as basketball and baseball. He loves to watch the New York Yankees, the SU Orangemen and the NY Knicks, NY Giants for football.

In November of 2013, he started having headaches, nausea and vomiting. He was playing for the school basketball team and he came home saying he had a headache and went to bed. This went on for a few days so we took him to our regular doctor, who said it was a virus. A week later – he still wasn’t feeling right, so I decided to take him to the eye doctor to see if his eyes had changed a lot and that was causing this. The doctor at Vision Works in Fulton looked into his eyes several times after the eye exam, and said that he saw some pressure behind Kyle’s eyes and said if it were my child I would take him to the Upstate ER.

We did just that, and after eight hours in the ER, a CT scan showed a mass on Kyle’s brain. Never in our wildest dreams did we expect what was ahead of us, our whole world tipped upside down. He was admitted to Golisano Children’s Hospital where he underwent 3 surgeries, one to put a temporary drain in to relieve the pressure, a biopsy of the tumor and a permanent shunt. We left the hospital 10 days later with no results of the biopsy yet. On December 12, we found ourselves in the Children’s Cancer Center finding out the news we did not want to hear – it was a cancerous tumor, a pineal parenchymal tumor. As of mid March 2014, he has finished with six weeks of chemo and radiation. He will have a six week break, and then he will return to Upstate for a six rounds of chemo. Everyone here at the Cancer Center has been awesome in getting us through this nightmare. We are praying for the best!

AIDEN ERWIN

2013 was a life changing year for my family. The first few months went as normal, we celebrated Aiden’s fourth birthday towards the end of February. Then we noticed that he was feeling under the weather. Fevers, ear infections, and then he had no balance in which he started walking into objects that he had no problem getting around before. After many Doctor visits our pediatrician sent us over to Upstate to get an MRI on Aiden’s head. On the night of March 21st the results came back that Aiden had a lemon sized tumor in his head. Nothing could have prepared us for that moment. All we knew was we had to be strong and get him through this very hard time.

In one year, Aiden went though brain surgery, a couple rounds of chemo, mini transplants and a ton of tests. Nothing was really helping to shrink the tumor until our amazing brain surgeon recommended a new procedure called laser ablation. I am happy to report that the tumor is indeed shrinking. Aiden has come a long way and is not completely cancer free but, with any luck, hopefully will be. At the moment, Aiden is living a normal life of a five year old playing and getting ready to start kindergarten this fall. We are very thankful to all the Doctors, nurses and wonderful people who have helped get us to where we are today. We are cherishing every moment and hoping very soon that little Aiden will be cancer free.

HALLY K.

Our Princess Hally; which is what we have called her for as long as I can remember is 7 years old and has always been a happy; healthy, beautiful little girl. Her passions are singing, writing, and playing dress up as she considers herself quite the fashionista! She also enjoys cuddling with her Bull-mastiff dog named Tank! She has always been the perfect combination of smart and determined mixed with sweet and shy. In November, of last year, she started a new school in the second grade and just started gaining new friends and really getting comfortable when she started having stomach aches. After the 3rd trip to the pediatrician on March 1st and ruling out several other possibilities she was sent for an ultrasound and x-rays. The ultrasound technician instantly saw there was something wrong and we were immediately sent to The Center for Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders at University Hospital. My head was spinning; my daughter did not belong there!!! We were instantly evaluated by an oncologist, referred to a pediatric surgeon, and planning for surgery in just 3 days for a biopsy and port placement.

The biopsy confirmed our worst nightmares, the tumor inside our princess was indeed cancer; a Wilm’s tumor to be exact. My husband and I were shocked, devastated, horrified and every other emotion you can possibly imagine. Hally immediately starting receiving chemotherapy to shrink the tumor, while we planned the surgery that would remove the tumor along with her right kidney. She had quite a few trips to the hospital during this time battling fevers and needing several blood transfusions, but she really took chemotherapy like a champ. Her father and I were proud and amazed at how bravely and gracefully our little girl was handling all of these new challenges presented to her. After weeks of chemo, she had a CT scan and the tumor had grown bigger instead of smaller as we had hoped. This made her surgery quite a bit harder but was still doable. On May 1st, the tumor and kidney were taken out during a very long 7 hour surgery, but also a very successful one. Her originally planned 5-7 days recovery time turned into 3 days due to her strength and perseverance. She fought harder than most adults could to get home! Her father and I have now found a new hero in her.

Hally is now undergoing a pretty aggressive schedule of radiation and chemotherapy and we are just awaiting the day that we can proclaim our little princess cancer free.

ASHLEY CARBONARO

Hello, my name is Ashley Carbonaro. After months of Doctors trying to figure out my illness with no answers, I finally got one once I visited Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. It wasn’t the answer my family or I wanted to get, but nonetheless, it was cancer. In December of 2011, I was diagnosed with advanced Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (large b-cell). My organs; my heart, my lungs and my throat were covered in cancer, restricting my body’s functions and my breathing.

I didn’t ask to have cancer, nor did I deserve it. I didn’t ask to be in the Pediatric ICU for almost a month total. I didn’t ask to be a 10 year old girl losing my hair. I didn’t ask nor did I want to be in the hospital for Christmas, my birthday and for the next four months of my life while receiving multiple rounds of one week long chemotherapy treatments. I didn’t want the blood infections, or the port, or the mouth sores, or the bagged food pumped into me. I didn’t want to miss most of 5th grade with my friends. I didn’t want to, but I did.

I never realized how close to Heaven that I came, until I look back. I am living proof of not only that miracles do happen; but also of the great things that are happening every day at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. From the Doctors (I love my doc Dr. Kerr) to the nurses to the child life specialists; all of which eased my fears and pain. All who are making huge gains in helping us children with cancer to WIN!

I am now ONE year in remission. I have my FAMILY to support me. I HAVE my hair back. I AM in school with my friends in 6th grade. I WILL make a difference in this world. I DREAM of being a child life specialist so I can give back to the kids the same way they gave to me. I will always be THANKFUL for having my hospital be Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital.

BEN TOWLES

When I was 16 my entire life changed with one phone call. I had been sick for a while in the fall of 2010 but when an x-ray of my chest was finally taken on January 24, 2011, a call from my pediatrician gave us an idea of just how sick I was. I had a massive tumor in my left chest. I was immediately sent to Golisano Children’s Hospital where my treatment for Large B-cell Lymphoma began. Shortly after arriving an echo determined that I had a dangerous amount of fluid surrounding my heart and I went in for my first surgery. From day one, it seemed that if it could go wrong, it did for me.

Much of 2011 was spent at Golisano where I received excellent care. The people there are amazing and I came to feel very comfortable there. In the fall I became sick again and on January 5, 2012, I went to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where I had a lung resection. It was a surgery that I almost didn’t survive, and the news that followed was devastating. I had cancer, again. I spent most of 2012 admitted at CHOP where my pattern of things not exactly going well continued. Following stem cell transplant I developed a double gram-negative infection and went into septic shock. I spent two weeks in ICU and was told I was very lucky to have survived. I then had over a month of radiation and finally got to come home the end of September.

On September 24, 2012, my mom and I turned off Rt. 81 to drive the last mile to our house. Even though it was very late and very cold outside, my road was lined with people welcoming me home. I have learned that the support of your family, friends and community makes all the difference. I continue to receive treatment at Golisano and CHOP. My cancer experience has not been easy but I am now back in school, determined to graduate and go on to college.

UPDATE: I have been doing well and reached a few milestones and personal goals this past year. I was able graduate from high school and have one semester of college under my belt. I also passed my one year remission anniversary. I got my license and enjoy driving my 1998 Camaro. This allows me some independence I have not had the past couple of years. A personal goal I set when I was diagnosed was to someday skydive. That dream came true on August 23, 2013, when I jumped out of a plane (can’t wait to do it again!) I also took a long overdue family vacation and cruised to the Bahamas. Medically, I am doing well and am slowly gaining back strength, concentration and my immune system. Life is good!

BIANCA BRESADOLA

Bianca was a 7-year-old girl from Liverpool, NY, who attended Chestnut Hill Elementary School. She had many special traits which included having an identical twin sister named Mia. As twins and best friends you would never find one sister without the other. They enjoyed doing many of the same things together but Bianca’s favorites were camping, horseback riding, swimming, and riding her bike. Bianca was also very fond of animals and had a special love for dolphins.

On June 4, 2008, Bianca was diagnosed with osteosarcoma which is a rare type of bone cancer. She began treatment at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse and later sought treatment at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas.

After a short battle that included many treatments, Bianca passed away in her parents arms on December 3, 2008.

Bianca touched many people’s lives and left behind many everlasting memories.
She also was able to achieve one of her dreams by visiting Discovery Cove in Orlando Florida and swimming with dolphins (thanks in part to the Make-A-Wish Foundation). There were also many other people, business, and organizations that played an instrumental role in helping Bianca and the Bresadolas through a most difficult time. Although she is gone, Bianca will never be forgotten.

CRAIG W. RIENHARDT

Craig was a 17-year-old honor roll student at West Genesee High School when he was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer called gastric adenocarcinoma. He had been treated as an outpatient at Golisano Children’s Hospital where he bravely underwent any treatment that we asked him to do. Just six weeks after he was diagnosed, Craig passed away on January 12th, 2011.

Craig enjoyed life and embraced it, always willing and ready to try new adventures.
He loved hard physical labor, taking pride in his work and loved working out with his friends, playing soccer, basketball and biking. He enjoyed his music and sports, of which he was very knowledgeable. He ran a variety of races, such as “Paige’s Butterfly Run,” the “Boilermaker” and the “Warrior Dash” just to name a few.

Craig was the youngest of 4 children, a wonderful son, terrific brother and great nephew and cousin. He had a quiet but wicked sense of humor. He was always willing to help out and was a reliable person you could always count on. He was a friend to all, which was evident from all the generous support we received during and after his illness.

We are forever thankful for the wonderful support and care we have received from the doctors and nurses, the West Genesee School district; friends and family. Craig is very much loved and missed; forever in our hearts…

SOPHIE KAWEJSZA

Sophie was a 3rd grader at Stonehedge Elementary School in Camillus. She was the youngest of three girls, but didn’t let that stop her from doing what she wanted. She loved to read, cook, show cows with her 4-H group, The Moo Crew, she played ice hockey, had a great sense of humor and if she had her way would have spent every minute with her best friend. She loved life and lived every minute to the fullest.

Sophie was 5 days short of her 8th birthday when she was diagnosed with a large brain tumor that was part benign, a ganglioglioma, and part malignant, a gliobastoma multiforme. After the tumor was removed she traveled to Indiana to undergo Proton Beam Radiation. Upon completion, she returned to Golisano where she received multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

Unfortunately, her tumor prevailed and Sophie passed away surrounded by her family on January 27, 2012. Two weeks shy of her 9th birthday.

Sophie had an unbelievable amount of faith that was demonstrated through her ability to accept the new path her life had taken when she was diagnosed with her brain tumor. She was truly inspirational, not only to those who knew her in person, but to those who know her through her story. She still remains to be the bravest person we know!

NAOMI GLENISTER

In November of 2006, at the young age of 16, Naomi Glenister was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and treated at University Hospital. She spent the next 2 years receiving chemotherapy, and endured over 40 trips to the operating room. During this time she also spent 2 months in the intensive care unit in a drug induced coma due to infection and high fevers. This led to months of occupational therapy, learning how to once again use her hands, move her arms and learn to walk. Today, Naomi is 19 years old, cancer free and able to walk with some support. In June of 2009, she graduated with her high school class at Sandy Creek as a member of the National Honor Society. Naomi still has to make monthly visits to Golisano Children’s Hospital but her story is one of courage and hope!