Kena-Marie Chastidy Spivey was born on December 16, 2013. She was the special little miracle that her parents had prayed for after having lost a baby to miscarriage two years prior to the day of Kena's birth. Kena's parents named her after her Uncle Ken who passed away from cancer, and her middle name in honor of a close friend's 14 year old daughter that passed suddenly. This little girl was special from the begining.
About 2 weeks after Kena was born, her mother noticed that she had blood in her stool. She rushed Kena to her pediatrician who dismissed the issue as normal and sent them home. After two months of this same bleeding, Kena's mother elected to get a second opinion. Her new pediatrician told her mother Dawn to discontinue breast milk and start her on formula. This seemingly was the answer until blood started to appear in Kena's urine. The doctor treated this with antibiotics thinking that it was a urinary tract/bladder infection. Kena's bleeding was unaffected by the antibiotic treatment and in May of 2014, her new pediatrican said she needed to have an ultrasound. Finally, at the end of June, a urologist scheduled an ultrasound.
Upon completing the ultrasound, the doctor sent Kena immediately for a CT scan. The radiologist that performed the scan could see instantly that something was not right. After more doctors appointments, tests, and a biopsy on July 7, 2014, Kena was diagonosed with Stage 3 germ cell tumor/yolk sac tumor on her uterus and cervix that measured 4cm. One week later, Kena began chemotherapy treatments. She did 5 days of chemo initially. A normal AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) is 0-10. Kena was at a 72 after chemo. She then underwent more chemotherapy.
The treatment seemed to be helping. Throughout this time Kena kept the sweetest, happiest spirit. She was an inspiration to other adults that were undergoing chemotherapy. Her mother Dawn said that it's almost as if Kena was too good to be true. Her bright personality and positve nature was contagious. Kena was seemingly on an upswing. However, her parents soon learned that the cancer had metastasized to her lungs.
After more rounds of chemo, her lungs cleared. This was the good news that Kena's
family was praying for. Unfortunately, the cancer was winning in other parts of her body. Kena's battle would continue throughout 2015 and into 2016 with ups and downs along the way. In August of 2016, Kena went for a routine doctor visit. She had become sick with a fever and what seemed to be a cold virus. Her body had become immune to all of the rigorous chemotherapy and was no longer responding. She was immediately admited to the hospital where she remained until September 29, 2016 when heaven received an angel.
Kena was so bold in spirit. Her time on earth impacted many lives. She was a friend. Her bravery touched the hearts of others, and although her journey was very short, she changed the world.
Jensen's Heart of Gold was the first organiztion to reach out to the Spivey's in July of 2014 after Kena's diagnosis. JHG provided gift baskets while the family was in the hospital. In addition, food and and comfort gifts such as flowers were delivered to the family in their time of need. Having the time off work as a family is such a gift during the very emotionally strenuous time of battling childhood cancer. JHG allowed the Spivey's to have time from work in order to be with Kena together during a hospital stay for two months straight. This took so much pressure off.
Jensen's Heart of Gold also provided Christmas gifts and monetary support for funeral costs. Without Jensen's Heart of Gold the Spivey's situation would have been much different. Time is our most precious resource and the assistance that JHG extended gave the Spivey's the freedom to spend precious days, hours, and moments with their daughter. The family is forever grateful to all of the contributors that fueled and continue to fuel Jensen's Heart of Gold. The foundation made a difference for the Spivey's that is invaluable.