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Maple Ridge girl gears up for fight of her life

Kira Short, 6, has been undergoing intense chemotherapy and radiation sessions since 2015.
Kira Short

Peter Short isn’t mincing words when he says the next battle his daughter Kira faces with a rare and nasty cancer will be the fight of her life.

Kira has a malignant tumour, called epithelioid sarcoma, between her C1 and C2 vertebrae.

She has been undergoing intense chemotherapy and radiation sessions since 2015.

Last June, Kira’s oncologist had some great news: the cancer had not spread, and her tumour was shrinking.

She seemed well on her way to recovery after another round of chemotherapy and a three-month stay in Boston for a highly-specialized proton radiation therapy on the horizon.

That was also a success, and everything seemed like it was going back to normal. Kira was back at school and Peter was back at his job.

But the shooting neck pain came back in early February. So did the long, restless nights. Peter feared the worst; it was the same chain of events that led to the original cancer diagnosis.

“She was rocking back and forth, it was like watching an exorcism,” he said.

“As a parent watching her feeling helpless was the worst feeling you could ever experience in your life.

“Your hands are tied. There’s nothing you can do.”

While it hasn’t been confirmed that the tumours in Kira’s lungs are in fact cancerous, her oncologist told Peter that nine times out of 10 the spread means it’s a strong possibility. He’s trying to stay positive, but admits it’s hard not to let it be a burden for him.

She’s also re-started her chemotherapy protocol, but has limits on how much she can take.

They’re also trying things like naturopathy and alternative medicines to help Kira deal with the constant pain she is feeling. What was once the most routine is now a difficult task.

“It kills me to even say it because we’re not at an end game yet, but we’re in a fight for her life at this point,” he said. “We’re basically back at square one.”

A lot of what happens next depends on how Kira reacts to the latest round of chemotherapy. She’s also taking multiple medications, including some that artificially boost her immune system until it naturally returns. Peter says the carboplatin that she takes as part of the chemo attacks the liver and kidneys, while the overall chemo could leave her bone marrow depleted.

What has been huge is the helping hand of not just Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows residents, but the surrounding communities, as well.

He also recalls a story from a few weeks ago when a Red Robin restaurant hostess footed their bill in a random act of kindness. They’re now making it a tradition to go back to Red Robin every week or so.

“It makes me feel so good knowing there are so many people in our corner as we go to battle this nightmare we call cancer,” he says. “Because that’s what it is: it’s an absolute nightmare. But we’re going to roll with the punches.”

Kira’s GoFundMe page has over $25,000 worth of donations, and Peter says people have been chipping in to help put together another fundraiser, happening this Friday, April 7 at the Haney Public House.

RADD has also arranged to have designated drivers for people who want to go to the fundraiser, with all the money being donated to the family.


– By Owen Munro, contributor.


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