THE desperate parents of a two-year-old girl diagnosed with incredibly rare ovarian cancer have said: “This poor baby needs your prayers.”
McKenna “Kenni” Shea Xydias is undergoing intensive chemotherapy after stunned doctors found a mass of tumours across her abdomen.
At first, the toddler was thought to be suffering from a large gas build-up in her bowel after she was taken to a paediatrician with a 40C fever and a bloated belly on Feb 15.
But an MRI scan revealed her ovaries and other organs were riddled with metastasised tumours – including one the size of a grapefruit.
Little Kenni, from Senoia, Georgia, is believed to be the youngest sufferer in the US with this type of cancer – which specifically targets the ovarian yolk sac.
The disease normally affects women and girls between the ages of 10 and 30.
Brave Kenni has already had to undergo surgery to remove her right ovary and part of her small intestine.
But now she is beginning a round of debilitating chemotherapy and other treatments to try to fend off the disease.
Meanwhile, distraught mum and dad Meagan and Mike have to meet with fertility doctors to discuss their daughter’s ability to have children herself in the future.
In a heartbreaking post on the family’s GoFundMe fundraising page, Mike wrote that the family are trying to “take every day one step at a time”.
But he added: “Having to consider how these tumours and consequential chemo will potentially effect Kenni in the long run, forces us to look at the big picture as well.”
In the post, written on Tuesday, Mike said: “Not sure we’re quite ready for big picture just yet.
“Smaller bites can be easier to swallow.”
The family’s plight was brought to nationwide attention in the US this week after they spoke to Good Morning America.
Telling of his devastation at the diagnosis, Mike said: “I didn’t realise that it could happen to such a young kid.”
But he added that Kenni’s strength is astounding, saying: “I know Meagan and I both agree that Kenni is our hero with how she’s dealing with this.
“She is a ball of energy and a stereotypical two-year-old.
“She’s the youngest child, where she is the boss and she’s extremely stubborn, which a great character trait in going to fight cancer.
“She doesn’t let anything stop her.”
Kenni’s cancer is extremely rare, experts say – with her type of tumour accounting for just one in five of all malignant ovarian cancers.
The vast majority – 80 per cent – of ovarian tumours are not malignant.
Dr Robert Wenham, Chair of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gynecological Oncology Department, told DailyMail.com: “This is very, very rare.
“It is the youngest of which I have heard.”
But he added: “The good news is the five-year survival for treated patients is relatively high ranging from around almost 100 percent for stage one down to 70 percent for stage four.”
Dr Wenham said the most effective treatment for young patients is a mix of surgery, chemotherapy and drugs.
The family – which includes Kenni’s two older brothers – are sharing their heartrending story as well-wishers and relatives rally around to raise money for her treatment.
Writing on GoFundMe on Thursday, Mike said he has been overwhelmed by the public’s support.
He said: “The caring and selflessness that we have encountered on this journey continues to astound us.”