Benefit for local resident
There will be a benefit for 19-year-old cancer patient Kaycie Benjamin from 11 a.m. To 4 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 1, at the American Legion in Towanda.
The event will feature a spaghetti dinner, Chinese auction, bake sale and a 50/50 raffle.
Kaycie, a Towanda High School graduate, was diagnosed with stage 3 diffuse large cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The cancer's name sounds complicated, and it is. She is currently undergoing chemo therapy and may also need radiation. All the proceeds raised at the benefit will help with costs for her treatments, medications and care. Donations? Questions? Call her mom, Jeanette Benjamin at (570) 265-0758 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kaycie's story, as told by her mom:
Kaycie came down with appendicitis and was hospitalized on Aug. 4.
She was discharged Monday, Aug. 14. When she got home she was in so much pain, she was curled up on the bathroom floor crying, and vomiting.
I took her to another hospital the same day, where she was admitted and treated for pancreatitis. The plan was to do exploratory surgery the following Monday to see what was going on.
On Friday the 17th, she spiked a fever and started to wheeze really bad. So they did a chest x-ray thinking she may have developed pneumonia ï¿½ that is when they saw the mass in her chest.
They scheduled a biopsy for the next Tuesday. The doctors kept telling us they thought it was an autoimmune thing that is treated with steroids no one ever said cancer ï¿½we didn't even have that on our radar.
Kaycie called me from the hospital on Thursday, Aug. 23, saying "they have the results of my biopsy." I said, æµreat, what is it?ï¿½She said, "I don't know, they don't want to tell me until you and Dad get here." Kaycie sounded happy, she was excited to get the results. But, I was thinking, she is 19 and they had no reason not to tell her unless it was something bad. At that point she had no idea that anything was wrong.
I couldn't let her know I was scared, but I could hardly breathe. Her dad, Luke, and I got to the hospital as soon as we could. The doctor came in and said, çt is CANCER.ï¿½We all cried. I told her and everyone else that came in, "We have today to cry, and say 'why us? Why me?' To be afraid. But tomorrow we lace up our boots, put on our war paint, and fight! We can fall apart and cry again when we come out on the other side of this. But until then, we are battle-ready warriors and we will do whatever it takes to win this fight.ï¿½
Kaycie said OK ï¿½and that is what we are doing, fighting.
It has been rough so far, she has had many complications. We found out she has stage 3 diffuse large B cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She has a mass in her chest the size of a cantaloupe ï¿½it sits between her lungs and presses against her heart. This mass has caused Superior Vena Cava Syndrome, which means the mass is around her Vena Cava and squeezes it, not allowing the blood from her upper body to flow back into her heart.
To add to the complications, Kaycie has contracted bad infections. She has gone through many tests, including CT scans, MRI, PET scan, bone marrow biopsy, tumor biopsy, and the list goes on. She developed fluid around her heart, which the cardiologist said could be very serious, very fast and wanted me to stay at the hospital with her. So I stayed with her day and night. They told us at any time the condition could get worse and she would need emergency heart surgery. Thank God it got better! The doctor said it shouldn't have, he said by all rights she shouldn't get better without the surgery, but she DID. The fluid is still there, but it is just a small amount.
However, Kaycie also has masses in her abdomen around her pancreas, liver, and kidney. She has had a lot of pain associated with the masses around her pancreas, and in her chest. Because of the chemo, her hair is gone now but not her spunk.
Her hemoglobin went down to 6, so she had one blood transfusion so far. Chemo makes her very sick, so they give her medication for the nausea and pain. That helps, but doesn't eliminate it.
She is a happy kid through it all, keeping her chin up.
We are half way through chemo ï¿½she has to go for a second opinion regarding radiation, as her case is complicated.
Kaycie wrestled when she was younger, and I remember her first and only pin. I jumped up and down, cheered for her, and yes, cried, (oh, she was embarrassed). She wrestled for three years to get that pin. Now, I am looking forward to her next big win there is a lot more on the line in this fight.