Jokes and donor contributions propel third grader through cancer treatment
When third grader Lilith Kahn is asked what she likes about Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital, she confidently says, “The nurses are super nice and funny — I always crack them up.”
Over the past year, Lilith has spent a lot of time with these nurses. She was diagnosed with diffuse astrocytoma (brain tumor) last year.
“I was actually at work. My oldest daughter called me and said that I needed to call Lilith's school, because her teacher had said that Lilith was acting really funny,” Lilith’s mom Jennifer says. “We went to talk to the teacher, and Lilith was telling me that her right side of her body went numb, which I found extremely alarming. So, I took her to Olympia [because we live in Shelton], but they didn’t have the means to test Lilith, so we were transferred to Mary Bridge Children’s.”
After a hospital stay and a series of tests, Lilith received her diagnosis. She began weekly chemotherapy at Mary Bridge Children’s Hematology/Oncology clinic with Tamara Chang, MD.
“The first time I met Lilith, Dr. Grondin her neurosurgeon] and I could not stop laughing — she was so articulate, spunky, bright and inquisitive,” Dr. Chang says. “Our first meeting with her lasted almost an hour, as she had so many great questions for us! We loved her from the very first moment we met her.”
Jennifer had to quit her job so that she could drive Lilith from Shelton to Tacoma for her weekly appointments, as well as to try to avoid any extra COVID-19 exposure. This caused financial distress for the family, and that’s when MultiCare’s Helping Hands fund came into the picture.
Helping Hands is a donor-supported fund that allows social workers and personal health partners to immediately address barriers to care for their patients. Thanks to this fund, Mary Bridge Children’s Social Worker Jessica Pabst worked with Lilith and her family to help them with some critical bills so that Lilith could continue her treatment.
“Mary Bridge has really helped phenomenally,” Jennifer says. “When COVID-19 hit, I had to stop working because Lilith was high risk, and I never really asked for too much help from the clinic until that happened. They have helped us pay some of our rent, one of my car payments. They’ve been a great support system. Anytime that Lilith or I needed to talk to them, they were always there.”
After a year of treatment, Lilith continues to be her happy, funny and smart self.
Her advice for other kids going through cancer treatment?
“Stay confident, and always, always, always make up jokes,” Lilith says. “And always, always, when they ask if anywhere hurts, if you have a chemo port, say your port. It's a really good joke,”
You can help families like Lilith’s through a medical crisis like cancer treatment with a gift to the Helping Hands fund.
About The Author
Kortney Scroger is a communication specialist for the MultiCare Foundations. She writes stories that connect readers to the impact of giving. You can reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author