Leah is eleven years old. When she was four years old, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. She had two surgeries – one year apart on the same day. The first surgery was 13 hours, and the second a year later was 4 hours. Leah’s anxiety started after her diagnosis. She was very afraid and had lost her trust in the medical field. Less than a year after her second surgery, Leah mentioned wanting to do karate. It was soon after that the family found Kids Kicking Cancer and joined.

Kids Kicking Cancer has helped Leah in so many ways. Leah’s mom told us that it used to take 5-6 people to hold Leah down for MRI’s. The medications they gave her took so long to work, because Leah was so upset that she couldn’t calm down. Things changed when Kids Kicking Cancer offered to have Sensei Michael come with Leah to her MRI appointments. Sensei Michael taught her to power breathe and the meds worked so much faster for her. Leah’s mom told us that Sensei Michael is such a comfort to her. He can give Leah “something that we as her mom and dad cannot.” Leah has total trust in Sensei Michael – he just calms her.

Leah also feels totally supported and special with her friends that she’s met through Kids Kicking Cancer. She feels like they “get it.” When Leah first told her class at school about her brain tumor, one little boy said “ooh gross”. This made Leah feel very sad and different. When she’s with her friends from Kids Kicking Cancer, Leah feels special – she doesn’t feel “gross or different”. Leah’s mom also told us that they’ve gotten to do a lot of really cool stuff that the whole family can participate in, and that it brings them closer together. Leah tells the neighborhood all about the program. She even invited her friends in the neighborhood to her belting ceremony.

Since the pandemic, Leah has enjoyed learning new things virtually like cooking and art. She is happy to have had the ability to stay connected to her Kids Kicking Cancer family.

Martial Arts Therapy empowers Leah and gives her confidence that she needs to help her fight her illness. Her tumor is stable, and we are so thankful for the support of Kids Kicking Cancer!

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Despite the ongoing challenges of the global pandemic, we are committed to empowering one million children to reduce their pain and stress with the help of our evidence-based martial arts therapy.