Survivor Squad: Mashayla

NAME: MASHAYLA

AGE: 7

STATUS: IN REMISSION

FUN FACT: THIS PAST SEPTEMBER, MASHAYLA RANG THE ROSWELL PARK VICTORY BELL AFTER COMPLETING HER FINAL ROUND OF CHEMOTHERAPY!

Seven-year-old Mashayla was really excited when she rang the Roswell Park victory bell in September. She had just completed her final round of chemotherapy after more than two years of cancer treatment. She had been diagnosed with medulloblastoma in April 2015 and has been in and out of hospitals since.

When Mashayla was 5, her mom noticed that she kept falling over and had trouble balancing. A CT scan at the emergency room revealed a brain tumor. Mashayla was admitted to the ICU and prepped for surgery.

Mashayla’s doctors attacked the cancer using: surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, six weeks of radiation, which kills cancer cells using very strong X-rays or other forms of radiation, and nine rounds of chemotherapy, where the medulloblastoma was attacked further using strong medicine given on a regular schedule.

For over a year, Mashayla had a port for her chemotherapy. A port is a small plastic disk surgically placed under the skin that helps doctors and nurses give patients medicine — especially chemo — and draw blood for blood tests. Ports are usually placed near the collarbone. They’re a pretty weird thing to get used to, and lots of patients don’t like having one. Mashayla didn’t either. But she got through it.

Mashayla says her family and friends are what kept her going. Their visits when she was in the hospital gave her a lot of strength. She also got to have some fun thanks to the Courage of Carly Fund at Roswell Park, which offers programs to kids and funds pediatric research through donations to Roswell Park.

Mashayla loves being part of the Courage of Carly. She got to go to a Bills Game, a Sabres Game, Rolly Pollies and Build-a-Bear, where she built a Dalmatian. She really loves Build-a-Bear. She even got to go back for her birthday thanks to a gift card from the Courage of Carly Fund. Her mom is grateful for the things Mashayla has gotten to do and would like to thank all the donors who make Bald for Bucks and the Courage of Carly Fund possible. Mashayla’s school even went Bald for Bucks in 2016!

Mashayla has regular MRIs to check for cancer. Because her last two MRIs have been clean, she is now considered cancer-free. But she does need to keep having check-ups to make sure it hasn’t come back.

Mashayla loves doing arts and craft, playing with Play-Doh and watching YouTube. She’s not crazy about going back to school full time, but she knows she’ll get used to it. She just got through cancer, so school should be a breeze.