Headlines are grim. The news is grimmer. What seldom makes the front page are stories of people doing good things.
Kyra Williams and her dad, Seth, know all about that. They have been the recipients of outpourings of love and help.
On Sunday, Oct. 8, there was a rockin’ party going on in the last block of Baker Street in Winters. It was a fundraiser for Kyra, an 11-year-old diagnosed with a rare brain tumor.
The party was planned, organized and carried out by friends of the family, Joanne and Terry Moore, as a benefit for Kyra, to help offset her medical bills.
“Kyra came to my office selling cookies for her school, Vacaville Christian Academy,” explains Joanne. “Because of her cancer, she could not actually attend classes, and was being home-schooled, but she wouldn’t let her classmates down, so she was out getting orders for cookies. Her strength and positive outlook were impressive. We had to do something to help.”
The something turned out to be a private fundraiser, by invitation only, for about 100 people. There was a bounce castle in the front yard for the kids. Two bands donated their time to play in the back yard throughout the day. A tent held items for a raffle. An artist did sketches. Centerpieces of fish bowls with a beautiful red and purple fighting beta fish were on each table.
Terry cooked tri-tip and chicken, potato salad, green salad, and dessert — much of it donated by Lorenzo’s Market. Local churches provided tables and chairs.
“We wanted to give Kyra a day of love, life and support,” said Joanne.
The weather was perfect except for a north wind blowing constantly. The fenced back yard was protected from the worst of the wind.
Kyra is an active, curious, positive and involved fifth grader. When asked what her favorite class is, she immediately answers with enthusiasm, “Math!”
Kyra’s father, Seth Williams, gave a brief history of her medical story.
“She had stomach pains a couple of times a week, and one thing led to another, to try to figure out what was going on. At one point her sodium level was terribly low. She had a CT scan and that was when they saw the tumor in her brain. That was in June.
“On July 13, she had a brain biopsy and they diagnosed an ependymoma, Stage III. It is rare, and occurs in fewer than 50 kids a year.”
An ependymoma is a cancer of the ependymal cells that line the spinal cord and the spaces in the brain called ventricles. It is responsible for making cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord and keeps them healthy.
The tumor is not in a position to be operated on, so the treatment was chemotherapy to shrink the tumor. But the tumor didn’t shrink.
“But it didn’t grow, either!” Kyra says.
Kyra is very positive.
“I feel normal,” she says.
Though she admits she doesn’t like the fact that she is not allowed to do all the sports she loves, especially soccer.
“My job is to keep his spirits up,” says Kyra of her dad.
“I am so proud of her,” says Seth. “She is so positive. We feed off her energy. When she is down, which is not often, we work to cheer her up.”
Kyra is surrounded by family members. Her grandmother, Ann Williams, lives with them. Her “technical uncle,” Aaron Carsner, who looks like Seth’s brother, but is not, is also a positive presence in her life.
At school, Kyra participates in a program called 5 to 5. A fifth grader such as Kyra is assigned to be a mentor to a 5-year-old at the school. Jessel Rafael, Kyra’s 5-year-old, arrived at the party with a present and a giant hug for Kyra.
As Seth says, “It is world changing – the feeling that you have done something to help each other.”
Donations can be made online at www.GoFundMe.com/FightForKyraAndSeth. Or, make a check payable to Seth Williams and send care of Joanne Moore, 403 Baker Street, Winters, CA 95694.