CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Kristina Natalie Donation is an 11-year-old SURVIVOR.
This 5th grader at Pine Lake Prep lives in Huntersville with her parents, Jennifer and Bob, and two sisters, 13-year-old Mia and 5-year-old Isabella.
"My friend suggested I write you," said Jennifer Dontino. "I just didn't know anyone was really telling the stories of these kids in our community who go through so much."
So glad you wrote!
Kristina's story is one about the importance of research. She had been having unexplained fevers and back pain until finally the pediatrician ordered a scan of her back. It showed an enlarged liver and spleen. They sent her to Levine Children's Hospital.
Three days later she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
She started chemo the next day.
"Luckily" for Kristina, she had a rare "low risk" form of leukemia. Her treatment was tailored for her, meaning she could receive the least amount of medication possible with the least amount of side effects that still resulted in the best outcome.
The only way they knew that, Jennifer said, was because of clinical trials over the last 30 years.
"To say we are grateful for research is an enormous understatement," Jennifer says. "Kristina's prognosis was excellent with a 90-95% cure rate."
We've talked about that high success rate for ALL in some of these other #MollysKids stories this month. It's great to hear a high percentage rate but as it has been pointed out, there are still parents who watch their kids fall in that 5-10% category.
Kristina finished treatments in May of this past year. After a long 2-and-a-half-years (she missed all of second grade) she celebrated with a picnic and orange (for leukemia) balloon release with her entire class.
"Through it all Kristina remained steadfast and strong," Jennifer said. "She hardly ever cried or felt sorry for herself. She persevered through it with grit."
Oooooooo… how cool is that to read?
"She persevered through it with grit."
What a fantastic things for a mother to be able to say about her daughter.
Kristina likes to swim, read and play with her sisters. Her mom describes her as kind, loving, smart and a future oncologist, "just like her hero, Dr. Kaplan at Levine Children's Hospital."
In the meantime, Kristina is fighting to raise money for Camp CARE, a summer camp for kids familiar with cancer. I can testify, it's an awesome place.
Find out more or get involved at campcare.org.
Anyone else going to take "She persevered through it with grit" with them the rest of the day?
*Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids in the month of September, children WBTV Anchor Molly Gr antham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. During Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, she features one a day. Thirty total. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.