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KASSIDY THE ‘K’ONQUERER: 2-year-old bravely battles rare cancer

 KASSIDY THE ‘K’ONQUERER: 2-year-old bravely battles rare cancer

Kassidy Selman is pictured with parents Zach and Monica.

Zach and Monica Selman moved to Algonac, Michigan, on July 4, 2015, from California, searching for community spirit and a place to raise their family.

Little did they know, members of the picturesque lakeside town as well as the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology team at Children’s Hospital of Michigan would become like family when their 2-year-old was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer.

Together, Kassidy, her mom and dad, her three siblings, her hospital care team today celebrated Kassidy’s remission from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) with a rare MLL rearrangement. Kassidy – who loves makeup, singing and to drive her new toy car with her baby dolls tucked into a car seat next to her – rang a bell to commemorate the occasion at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

“She’s doing great – we are so happy where she’s at right now,” said her mom, Monica. “And we’re so happy she’s ringing the bell for one year because AML is really rare in children, and she had a very rare genetic mutation – there were only two kids in the world that had her genetic mutation.”

Early symptoms

Everyone in the Selman family came down with a cold in November 2022. But only Kassidy couldn’t seem to shake it. When she began to have trouble breathing, a trip to a local emergency room showed her white blood cell count at about 60,000 – normal is between 5,000 and 20,000 for a 2-year-old. She was immediately transferred to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where doctors diagnosed her with the childhood cancer.

Kassidy is pictured with one of her siblings while undergoing treatments for her rare form of cancer
Kassidy is pictured with one of her siblings while undergoing treatments for her rare form of cancer

“Cancer in general is very rare in children,” said Children’s Hospital of Michigan Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant physician Dr. Eman Al-Antary. “Leukemia is the most common, but Kassidy’s is one of the most rare types of leukemia.”

Kassidy underwent her first of three rounds of chemotherapy in December, then a bone marrow transplant on March 17, 2023 – a few days after her 2nd birthday on March 8.

“We are grateful to provide expertise to care for these patients and help them,” Dr. Al-Antary said. “And now she’s in remission and has a very good prognosis. I’m very happy for and proud of Kassidy and her
family.”

Medical team’s support ‘amazing’

Monica said Dr. Al-Antary and the team’s support has meant the world to Kassidy and their family – from the medical care to special touches like celebrating Kassidy’s bone marrow transplant.

Kassidy is pictured with her family and Santa Claus
Kassidy is pictured with her family and Santa Claus

“I just thank God for her (Dr. Al-Antary) because she has been so close to us, always checking in on us,” Monica said. “We didn’t know how things were going to go. In the beginning, she was calling around the world for treatment options – just amazing.

“We were there for a month at a time, and she’d come in before her clinics (seeing other patients) to check on Kassidy. She didn’t have to do that.”

While all of this was happening at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the community of Algonac made meals to support Monica’s mom, who had flown in from California to take care of Kassidy’s three siblings.

The community also held a fundraiser to support Kassidy and her family as they cared for her and Zach took time off from his work as a pipefitter.

They’re going to Disney World

The celebration is expected to continue, with Kassidy and her family scheduled to leave in a couple of days on a celebratory trip to Disney provided by the Rainbow Connection.

In the meantime, Monica said they are grateful to share Kassidy’s journey with others.

“Anything we can do to spread hope and show there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, we’re all for it,” Monica said.

Special thanks to Detroit Medical Center Communications Manager Tammy Battaglia for contributing this article to SocialHouseNews.com.

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Ed Wright

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