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Pint-sized patient: Glimpses of a girl who fought cancer — and won

Kaylee Marshfield in a ball pit in February 2019, celebrating her seventh birthday. It was a happy occasion, unlike her sixth birthday, when she was diagnosed with cancer. Kaylee Marshfield in a ball pit in February 2019, celebrating her seventh birthday. It was a happy occasion, unlike her sixth birthday, when she was diagnosed with cancer.

PHOTOS BY MARANIE STAAB/TEXT BY JIM HOWE

Kaylee Marshfield of Lakeland received unforgettable news on Feb. 1, 2018. It was her sixth birthday: She had cancer.

A strange lump led to tests that detected a Wilms tumor on her left kidney. It was the most aggressive subtype of this childhood cancer, and it would mean removal of the kidney, chemotherapy, radiation treatment and lots of hospital stays at Upstate.

During her treatment, Kaylee and her family volunteered for the Cans for Cancer drive at the New York State Fair and caught the eye of Maranie Staab. Staab, who is studying photography at Syracuse University, struck up a friendship with them and began taking pictures of Kaylee navigating life with cancer.

Kaylee completed her treatment in October 2018, and since then, she has shown no evidence of cancer, says her pediatric oncologist at Upstate, Irene Cherrick, MD.

As a second-grader this fall, Kaylee has resumed her old life and activities. Her hair has grown back, too.

“Kaylee is a special little human. I’m a bit biased, but I mean that. She is outspoken, intuitive, introspective and only 7 years old. It’s been a privilege to observe and get to know her,” Staab says.

This article appears in the fall 2019 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

photos of Kaylee Marshfield
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