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The Gift of Life After Cancer

Kai resized

Kai is a kid who thinks of himself as an engineer. He loves machines and everything related. He troubleshoots problems with his family’s robotic vacuum, washing machines and any type of malfunctioning mechanical item. He also loves plants.

Kai developed a limp that became so painful he couldn’t walk, sleep or enjoy the things he loves. His side and chest began to hurt, too. Kai’s family brought him to Children’s National Hospital for evaluation.

Laura Tosi, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon and director of the Bone Health Program identified a small hole in the bottom of his thigh bone. A biopsy identified abnormal cancer cells. This step was critical in getting Kai the right specialty care since his bloodwork and scans had not indicated typical signs of leukemia. Pediatric cancer specialists diagnosed him with B-Cell Pediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

In the Hematology and Oncology Unit, the first nurse Kai and his family met was Katherine Chang. “She introduced herself as ‘Nurse Kat,’” says Kai’s mom, Nancy. “During one of the scariest times of our lives, she brought a peaceful demeanor into Kai's hospital room, which wasn't easy after the multitude of pokes and tests he experienced. She made Kai feel safe and heard. She patiently taught him to take his many medications. She set an optimistic, upbeat tone that helped us stay positive throughout Kai’s journey.”

After more than two years of treatment under the care of Birte Wistinghausen, M.D., a pediatric oncologist, Kai rang the bell at Children’s National to celebrate his recovery. “He has returned to school and doing all the things he loves to do,” Nancy says. “Children’s National gave us the gift of life after cancer. It also gave us a belief in people who care, a community committed to Kai’s health and well-being, and most of all, a team we could trust with the care of our little one during a very difficult situation.”