Kira’s battle with leukemia started in Russia. She and her mom were visiting Kira’s grandparents there, and the energetic six year old suddenly became exhausted all the time, pale, feverish and bruised for no reason.
The local doctor recommended a blood test. It revealed that 91% of her blood cells were cancerous. He recommended they leave to get treatment in the U.S., but it required three blood transfusions to be able to survive the flight home. As soon as she arrived, she was hospitalized at Stanford.
What followed was six stages of chemotherapy, hair loss and her muscles and joints becoming so weak that she could no longer walk. Slowly, however, she regained her strength and was even able to start first grade with her classmates. For Kira, what was hardest about it was being confined in the hospital, in the same small room. To help with her boredom, she started watching YouTube videos since she was “unable to do normal kids activities because of chemo” say her parents. She discovered the HiHo channel, whose “Kids Try Food” program she especially liked, even getting to know the kids and their personalities. Since she loves trying new food, and found the kids on the program really funny, she asked whether she could one day get to be part of an episode.
Her wish gave her the ultimate inside look at the program. She got to not only be part of three different “Kids Try” videos, but all of the existing kids on the program welcomed her, and enjoyed having a pizza party together on the second day of her wish. One of them even became an instant friend: “After talking with Crystal for 5 minutes, I felt like we had been best friends for many years,” says Kira.
Kira’s wish gave her the chance to step into a world she had used to get herself through chemotherapy. For her parents, Alex and Tatiana, it was something even more: it revealed just how important it is to let others offer their love and support. “We thought we were doing ok ourselves. Kira’s wish changed our mind. We greatly underestimated how strong community support can be and how incredibly inspiring it is to get so much love and support from other people.”
Here are some of Kira’s videos: