HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB) — Scarlett Rae Kiera, was exactly that. A ray of sunshine.
Her mother Mandy, says she always knew she wanted to be a mom, and after going through the pain of a miscarriage, Scarlett, was her ray of sunshine–her pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
“She had dimples for days,” said Mandy. “She would light up a room anytime she walked into it.”
Shortly after Scarlett’s first birthday, when Mandy went to pick up her daughter, she noticed a lump on her forearm. She drew a circle around the bump and showed her family members via text what it looked like. She took her into the doctors, some thought it was just a bug bite, and said to take some Motrin, but Mandy knew in her gut, this was not right.
The next day, the bump grew larger than the circle she drew just around it the day prior, and they knew this was nothing Motrin could fix.
“The phone rang, and those words are something you never forget,” said Mandy.
At just 16 months, Scarlett was diagnosed with stage four of a rare cancer, Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of cancer often occurring in children.
“Our journey was definitely like the superman,” said Mandy. “It was up, it was down, it was steady, curved–it was everything.”
To fight the disease, Scarlett underwent chemotherapy and 44 days of radiation at Roswell park, where she soon would be known throughout the floors for her signature dimples, her love of Frozen, and her beloved Josh Allen Jersey.
“Definitely felt like we were family there,” said Mandy. “When you walk in you just kind of look around and you don’t realize how many children are battling cancer–everyone’s cancer story is different yet the same.”
The Kiera family says the bond of battling cancer is something no family wants to be apart of, but that support helped them through Scarlett’s journey.
“That’s the only thing I think that keeps us sane, is because we have actual people that we can talk to, and they feel our pain,” said Mandy.
Not only did the doctors and nurses at Roswell Park and the family support their family, their support system of friends and family helped ease the pain along the way.
Scarlett’s father’s friend, even set up a GoFundMe page, that would update all of their loved ones on how Scarlett was doing.
After a year and a half of the fight, and after relapsing, Scarlett was taken to her home in Hamburg, where she was surrounded by loved ones until the very end. She passed away in June 2021.
“I’m willing to go to anything we can to help raise awareness,” said Mandy. “To have a child with cancer in such a rare form, Hope Rises and Shine Gold is just another opportunity for us to let it out there and say this happens to kids and there’s not many treatments to help our children.”
The Kieras hope that Shine Gold will not only raise awareness of Pediatric Cancer, but most important help research for rare Pediatric Cancers to advance.