In honor of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, our team had the opportunity to meet with Kate Koslovsky and her mom Lisa to learn about Kate’s diagnosis of neuroblastoma when she was just two-years-old in 2012.
According to an article by CHOP NEWS in 2013, neuroblastoma is the most common solid tumor within early childhood and it strikes the peripheral nervous system. It usually appears as a solid tumor in a young child’s chest or abdomen. Lisa noticed a few initial symptoms that Kate had which seemed abnormal for a two-year-old, however it took several examinations for the doctor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to determine Kate’s sickness because she didn’t have a visible tumor.
Kate tried a series of different treatments and therapies throughout her neuroblastoma experience. The first treatment she received was a form of MIGB (metaiodobenzylguanidine) therapy, a compound that is used to deliver targeted radiation. MIGB is absorbed by certain types of nerve tissues including neuroblastoma cells and is used to treat high-risk neuroblastoma. MIGB Therapy was the most effective treatment for her, especially because Kate was so young and small.
Another form of treatment Kate tried is known as Immunotherapy. This helped her immune system recognize and destroy cancer cells more effectively. Versions of immune system proteins called monoclonal antibodies were made to attack a very specific target in her body and seek out and attach to cancer cells. Unfortunately, this treatment was very difficult on Kate’s body and hard to recover from. Next, Kate and her Mom tried Healing Touch Therapy which includes the transfer of energy from a healer to their patient. This treatment helped Kate relax her body, release tensions and strengthen her immune system. Kate continued undergoing other forms of treatment including a type of radiation called Photon Therapy. In this type of therapy, the radiation dose uses energy photons that penetrate deeply into tissue to reach the tumor.
Throughout Kate’s neuroblastoma battle, Lisa was always amazed by her resilience and strength. Never did Kate resist the hospital staff while she was being treated either. Kate underwent bone marrow transplants to avoid causing possible damage to her own bone marrow, where new blood cells are made. After each treatment, Kate received a bead to put on a necklace that she wore around her neck. Each bead represented a treatment or task she had successfully completed. By the end of her journey, she could wrap the necklace around her neck three times!
Kate also kept in close contact with her friends and family for support. Unfortunately, it was very hard on both her and her three siblings to stay away from each other when she was limited with who could visit her and had to quarantine. Although there were many moments that were difficult for Kate and her family, they made sure to stay positive and make things fun whenever they could! A few ways they did this included having Kate participate in activities like arts and crafts, decorating her hospital room, and being visited by therapy dogs. Kate even helped deliver the mail to the Cincinnati Children’s nursing staff once her immune system was strong enough too.
Some helpful advice Lisa would give to anyone living through a cancer diagnosis is to accept any guidance, ask questions when necessary, and seek support from friends and family. She also encourages joining supportive organizations to help make new connections and seek out other opportunities where the organizations can help. The Koslovsky family is still a part of The Dragonfly Foundation and All Kids Again organization to this day. One thing Lisa wishes people understood about living through a cancer diagnosis is that sometimes it can seem like life as you know it has come to a stop, but finding small ways to stay positive through it all is the true key.
Hearing about Kate’s journey has inspired the CRF team to continue supporting awareness and research for all forms of childhood cancer. Kate was only 2-years-old when she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Today she is in 6th grade and is doing very well! Her story gives us hope that other children can live and thrive beyond a cancer diagnosis. Kate, we are so proud of you and admire your strength and perseverance. Full Steam Ahead!
By AnneMarie Hoopes