Meet Kayte: an amazing young cancer fighter

My name is Kirsten Fox, and I am proud to say that Terry Fox is my uncle and inspiration. Last week you read about the Foundation’s effort to make a significant impact on hard-to-treat children’s cancers. Today I am honoured to introduce you to another inspirational person in my life, Kayte, the awesome young cancer fighter, curler and friend pictured above.

Like Terry, we all believe in the potential of a world without cancer and we need stories that give us reason to continue to believe. This is where Kayte comes in. As a fellow curler, I had heard her name over the years but only recently met her and was inspired by her story.

On March 5, 2007 Kayte was diagnosed with Dysgerminoma, or adolescent ovarian cancer. She was 16 and had just recently qualified for the BC Juvenile Girls Provincials. Not letting her diagnosis get in the way of her goals, Kayte convinced her doctors to push the beginning of her treatment by a week, allowing her to compete with her team.

When she returned, she was quickly admitted to BC Children’s Hospital so her treatment could begin. She had four rounds of intensive treatment, each entailing a five day hospital visit, and a surgery to remove the tumour. Treatment was hard on Kayte but she had a great support system of family, friends and other patients she met in a local teen support group. Fortunately her treatment plan was successful.

Kayte will be celebrating 10 years cancer free on July 16 with her friends, family and golden retriever Ryder – and she’s still curling up a storm.

Kayte Gyles (left), Kirsten Fox (right)

Terry was inspired to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research when he saw the suffering in the cancer ward during his treatment. Terry wrote in 1980, “I could not leave [the ward] knowing these faces and feelings would still exist.”

Kayte shared with me how much she connected to my uncle Terry’s story. She could relate to his age, his ambitions as an athlete and, most importantly, his determination not to let his cancer diagnosis interfere with his goals. As someone who has the privilege of working with schools and students, I feel a personal connection to Kayte’s story. Going through adolescence is difficult enough without having to battle an aggressive disease. It’s stories like these that motivate us to continue working towards Terry’s vision of a world without cancer.

As a Terry Fox School Run Coordinator, I take inspiration every day from Terry and young cancer survivors like Kayte. It’s also why I am so pleased to tell you today that The Terry Fox Foundation is making a significant investment in research for childhood cancers, specifically hard-to-treat cancers. If you want to make an investment in our research work in this field in honour of kids like Kayte, please consider giving today.

Give today

Kirsten Fox
School Run Coordinator
BC/Yukon