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When his parents gave Kean his name, they might have had a crystal ball. Kean means “fighter.” And what a fighter he is.

Before he was even born, he ignored the doctors who said he was coming that night and instead spent 75 days in his mom’s tummy on complete hospital bed rest. He surprised everyone with his Down’s syndrome and earned another 45 days in the NICU.

But that was all just a dress rehearsal for the big time. A month before his third birthday, Kean was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). So back to the hospital he went for another long stay. And while his cancer journey has been the most brutal of experiences, his mom says it’s also been one of the most beautiful and tender.

Doctors, nurses, friends, and strangers have touched Kean and his family with their kindness, she says. There have been moments when they felt so utterly alone and moments when they were overwhelmed with the love they were shown. “It’s the most insane roller coaster ever invented,” she says. “You don’t get too excited when things go well and you don’t get too down when things don’t. You just hold on and keep your breathing steady—you’ll survive the ride.”

  1. Joe
  2. Prescott