Kristina Kral lived in Chesapeake, Virginia with her parents Tom & JoAnne and older sister, Jenna. She was five years old and in Kindergarten when she was diagnosed with Stage IV Pancreatoblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer of the pancreas. She received chemotherapy treatment at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters followed by a 14 hour surgery at the University of North Carolina. After a few more treatments, she was considered in remission but only six months later it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her brain. She received an experimental treatment at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. as well as enduring several operations on her brain. Sadly, Kristina’s treatment proved futile and she spent the last six weeks of her life in the comfort of her home and family.
Throughout her numerous trips to hospitals in and out of the state, Kristina lived her life in a way that left all who had the opportunity to know her breathless. She woke every day and asked the question, “What are we going to do for fun today?”-not worried about things to come; only concerned with the here and now. She always seemed to have an unending supply of strength and never a trace of self remorse. Kristina’s smile was as bright as her pink hat and her laughter was like music that is frequently heard, but never tiresome. She taught all who knew her how to smile more, about the joy and celebration that life should and can be, and that beauty is not determined by an illness. On Thanksgiving Day, November 23rd, 2006, our precious Kristina took her last breath and left her suffering behind. She is painfully missed but leaves behind memories that continue to inspire and breathe meaning into each day.
During Kristina’s journey through the difficult world of pediatric cancer, our eyes were open to a world where families often struggle with insurance agencies, job security, transportation, family dynamics, and so many other details that we take for granted. The pressure of choosing to be with a child during chemotherapy treatment or working extra to pay for necessary expenses needed to aid in treatment of a son or daughter can be excruciating. It is the goal of Childhood Cancer Awareness to help make these situations a less frequent occurrence. It is hard for any parent to fathom how difficult it is to battle every day and night with a disease that aims to take the life of a child, but it is truly unjust for any parent to be forced to fight this battle while being further burdened by unexpected difficulties. It is this foundation’s aim to provide “help for those fighting for hope”, and with your help we can make that happen. Consider it a blessing that you may never need the aid of this foundation, and then pass that blessing on to those who so sorely do.