Patients, family hope to raise awareness of children's cancer with gold ribbons

HOUSTON – Thursday was an average day for Kali Harmon; a tricycle ride, some time on the swings and one more day fighting for her life. The 4-year-old was diagnosed with cancer on June 23.

"I'm just wanting her to not feel any pain," said her mother, Caitlin Harmon. "Her cancer is actually [rare]. Only 1 percent of children that have cancer get it."

When doctors explained Kali's illness, it was a diagnosis that Caitlin just couldn't understand.

"'Why her?' I never thought my child would have cancer and then, bam! Here we are," the mother said. "It didn't really settle in until she started losing her hair, honestly. Because… I just couldn't wrap my head around it."

For 10 weeks Kali's been in a hospital bed.

"I'm learning to walk again," she said.

Her muscles have atrophied, but her support team has multiplied.

Little Kali is just one of about 16,000 children who will be diagnosed with cancer this year, which is why patients, family and hospital staff are trying gold ribbons on a playground fence to raise awareness.

"We walk in every morning and those children… I don't care what kind of treatment they are getting they almost always have smiles on their faces," Dr. Zoann Dreyer, with Texas Children's Hospital, said.

Day in and day out, Dreyer is with these kids.

"It puts life into perspective so the little things like someone just ran into your car, are completely irrelevant," the doctor said. "What really matters is to see these children grow up."

For Kali – to grow up – that's all that this duo is wishing for.

"That she'll have a family, because she loves being mommies to her dolls," her mother said. "So she wants to be just like mommy, huh?"

The 4-year-old just laughs and smiles.


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