Kayla Grace Steward is the daughter of Shane Steward, a coach and alumni of Central Florida Ultimate. Shane (Father), Lisa (Mother), Roan Xander (Brother), and Kayla are all part of our team at UCF ultimate.They are all part of the UCF family.
When UCF ultimate heard the news about our family member’s illness we decided to take action, we started a fundraiser called Grace Under Pressure. Like Kayla, we strive to show the same grace, strength, fortitude, bravery, patience, positivity and most importantly her love throughout this recovery process. Throughout our season we will aim to manifest these characteristics Kayla and her family exhibit to every day. We call this Grace Under Pressure because when we are put under pressure our character is tested to the max. This little girl, Kayla Grace, is under pressure yet she perseveres, along with her family, to overcome the odds. She believes, so we believe too. Help UCF Ultimate help our family. Anything helps, may it be time, money, or even passing this link to friends and family.
If you could, take the time now and please, read the story from Kayla’s blog below. Then donate to help her. Thank you.
Kayla is an honorary member of our team and here is a little bit of her player bio.
My Story – Kayla Grace Steward
Thanksgiving 2013 was planned to be a big one, we just didn’t know how big. Kayla had turned 2 just a couple months before, so we had decided to make our first leap into potty training. Things were going swimmingly until early the day after. Kayla was getting used to the potty and we were sleeping off too much turkey. Shane sat down to watch VeggieTales and wait for the potty timer to go off when he noticed a lump the size of a marble on Kayla’s collar bone.
Black Friday quickly turned into moving up the ladder of specialists as tests gave us information that didn’t say, “It’s nothing”. An ultrasound and an MRI later, and we confirmed a tumor the size of Kayla’s fist in her chest. None of the other markers for common cancers were showing positive, so the surgeon went in for a biopsy. The results came back with a diagnosis of neuroblastoma – one of the least common childhood cancers.
The next weeks held more tests to determine the severity and a treatment plan. Since Kayla was running and playing like any other energetic 2 year old, we were hopeful for an intermediate risk assessment. However, the tests told a different story and Kayla was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, placing her in the high risk group. This means an aggressive, intensive treatment plan extending 15-18 months.
Stage 1 starts with a surgery to put in a port where she will receive her medications. This is immediately followed by 5 different 21 day cycles of chemotherapy. Each involves a 5 day hospital stay, followed by a week and a half where Kayla’s immune system will be compromised. The slightest hint of a fever will mean another 3 day hospital stay. If things go well, Kayla will have another surgery between cycles 4 and 5 to remove the tumor. There’s also a large likelihood that Kayla will need regular blood transfusions during this time.
Stage 2 of treatment starts with a 30 day hospital stay and involves high doses of chemotherapy as well as radiation treatments.
Stage 3 is 6 months of two more treatments that we haven’t really thought about yet.
We are fortunate to be at Seattle Children’s Hospital, one of the nation’s leaders in childhood cancer treatments, with one of the national leaders on neuroblastomas in particular. We set up this blog to keep all Kayla’s supporters updated on her progress. We appreciate all the encouragement during this time.
This story was taken directly from her blog on her website.
Follow this LINK to read more daily stories about the family.
Please purchase a bracelet from the UCF Ultimate Club. The bracelet fundraiser provides you with a yellow cotton sweat band that has initials “KGS” in pink. Click the link to order now! http://ucf-ultimate-frisbee-store.myshopify.com/products/kayla-grace-steward-charity-wristband
All profits go to the family.
If you’d like to make a donation to the family, please donate to our club and be sure to write as a note, “KGS”. We will forward all donations directly to the family. Thank you so much for helping out our fellow teammate!
If you would like, you could contact the family below.