Orchard Park, NY - Orchard Park High School student Kaely Kwitek is in a fight for her life, and she's helping other teens battling cancer.
Last October, she wasn't feeling well and her doctor ordered blood work for mono and it came back positive. A few months later, she had back pain and doctors took out her gall bladder. Still, the pain persisted. So, doctors performed surgery to remove her appendix and found a tumor.
Kaely says, "I was like in denial. I didn't want to believe it. I mean no on wants to believe they have cancer."
Her life quickly changed, and now includes chemotherapy as part of treatment.
Kaely explains, "I miss my hair the most, just being normal because now I think I'm known as the girl with cancer, and I'd rather just be known as Kaely."
Kaely is grateful for the support of family, friends and her community. She found it invaluable to talk with other teens fighting cancer. So, she started Kaely's Kindness Foundation to help teens with cancer connect.
Kaely explains, "We're able to talk about things our friends don't understand. We all deal with the medicine, the side effects. We can talk about the nurses. How we deal with everything, and it's just easier to get in a group of girls our age. We all can connect in a way that no one else really can."
Kaely's mom teared up when sharing a story of two teenagers who met through a Kaely's Kindness event at a spa.
Maggie Dreyer says, "This beautiful girl walks in with a full head of hair. We honestly thought she was in the wrong place. We watched her mom and her explain who they were, and that she was just diagnosed. Another girl and her mom were there and, oh my gosh, I just got done with chemotherapy the one girl said, and I had the same diagnosis as you. The moms hugged and the daughters sat and talked and exchanged contact information. Then, I knew that we were doing the right thing."
Kaely's fight against cancer continues, and she has this advice for teens recently diagnosed. "If you keep a positive attitude and surround yourself with people who will help you it makes everything better."