HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Sept Day 21: A Dad Who Loves His Daughter
Matt Atapovich says his 15-year-old daughter Kaila is his hero. She was diagnosed with T-cell Leukemia in October 2014. He says he's her full-time caregiver.
Kaila is a sophomore at St. Stephens High School in Hickory. She's going on year three of treatments and visits to Brenner Children's Hospital. Earlier this year she finished chemotherapy after having to go through it for 28 months straight.
While doing that, she managed to still go to school, cheerlead, dance in competitions, participate in student council and has done pageants.
"But my favorite thing is that I'm the youth ambassador for Relay For Life of Catawba County," says Kaila. We got to talk after I had called her dad. She, like any bold teenager, asked him to hand it to her, saying she wanted to speak for herself.
"I did Relay in 2015, and I walked that first lap with the banner," she said. "Everyone was so loving and caring. With all my treatments I haven't been able to be there every year, but being a youth ambassador and getting to connect with all these people on a different level is indescribable. Every person is so different, but we're all there for the right reasons."
Her passion came through the phone. Loved that she wanted to speak for herself.
Kaila has 25 more months of mantainence to continue through her cancer journey.
"We refuse to sink is our motto," Matt said. "I have been reading the stories of these kids all month long. I thought you should know my daughter's strength as well. I am so proud of her I can't even find the right words."
Lots of pictures below.
Day 21. The stories keep coming.
PPS: In case you missed them: