What started as a planned vacation to visit family in Texas for an Atascadero mom and her five-year-old daughter, turned into a long-term hospital stay and a battle with cancer.
Kyndal Gottfried was your typical five-year-old girl; healthy, with a love of the outdoors and princesses, especially Elsa and Ana from Frozen.
“She’s like the perfect mix of likes to get dirty and have fun and play outside, but also super girlie girl,” said Kyndal’s mom, Raquel.
At the beginning of March, Kyndal and Raquel had a trip planned to see Raquel’s sister in Texas, but days before they left, Kyndal began to show signs something was wrong.
“We were in the grocery store, she said, ‘Grandpa, when I get dizzy, I see two of you.’ That’s when I was getting a little concerned,” said Steven Gottfried, Kyndal’s grandpa.
Raquel and Kyndal hopped on a flight out of LAX, and when they landed in Texas, things continued to worsen.
“She didn’t want to eat breakfast, she didn’t want to walk, and that’s when we were like, ‘Okay, something is wrong,’” said Raquel.
So to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston they went.
“We took her in, and about an hour and a half, two hours later, we got the CT results, and everything just unfolded,” said Raquel.
Brain cancer was the diagnosis.
“At first, it was just a total shock,” said Raquel. “‘Why me? Why her?’ No kid deserves to go through that.”
A tumor 3cm in size was attached to her brain. Kyndal had successful surgery to remove the tumor, and she’s undergoing six weeks of radiation and six weeks of chemotherapy in Houston, with a break in between.
“She is doing so well,” said Raquel. “Every day, she gets so much stronger – walking, talking. She had to relearn how to do a lot of things. Every little win is huge for us right now.”
“She’s being so tough through the whole thing,” said Cori Julien, Raquel’s friend. “She gets tests done every four hours, IVs put in her arms. She’s just been a trooper.”
Raquel and Kyndal plan to stay in Texas throughout her treatments, and the medical bills continue to rack up.
“I don’t know what the final bill is going to be,” said Raquel. “I know it’s going to be a lot of money. If I have to pay payments the rest of my life, that’s okay.”
“I don’t think she’s ever asked for help from anybody, but she’s always helping somebody. She’s a good person in a tough spot,” said Caleb Gottfried, Kyndal’s uncle.
“Raquel is our rock, and Kyndal has pretty much embodied that,” said Jordan Gottfried, Kyndal’s uncle. “She’s like the glue. That’s what we all really rally around.”
That strength will help them push through.
“For our family, I think it’s made us pull together. I think in the end, we’re going to be stronger,” said Steven.
The Gottfried family is asking for prayers while their little one continues to fight this horrible disease.
Kyndal had her first radiation treatment last Wednesday. If you’d like to help the family with medical bills, click here for a link to their GoFundMe page.