Family and friends welcomed the little girl and her mom home after a year-long battle
ATASCADERO—On Sunday, Feb. 6, friends and family welcomed home Kyndal and her mom, Raquel Gottfried, after almost a year of treatment at the Texas Children’s Hospital.
Kyndal’s supporters stood outside BarrelHouse Brewing Company with welcome home signs and unicorn balloons as fire trucks led Kyndal and her mom down the street. Following her arrival, Raquel thanked everyone for their support during the last year saying they never felt like they were along in the fight.
Due to COVID protocols, Kyndal was unable to ring the bell at the Texas Children’s Hospital. Traditionally, children ring a bell on the last day of their treatment. Even though Kyndal wasn’t able to do this in Texas, a family friend made her own that she was able to ring with family and friends by her side.
In March 2021, Kyndal and Raquel went to Texas to visit family. Kyndal appeared to be extremely lethargic and not like herself. The family thought perhaps she was jet-lagged and tired from traveling. But the following day, Kyndal showed no interest in playing with cousins, had no appetite, and didn’t want to walk. That was when Kyndal’s mother, Raquel, took her little girl to the Texas Children’s Hospital, and their world flipped upside down.
Within one hour of arriving at the hospital, Kyndal had a CT scan which revealed a tumor in the back of her brain. The following day, Kyndal went in for surgery. After six hours, her neurosurgeon and his team were able to remove a three-centimeter tumor attached to her brain.
Unfortunately, two smaller tumors were located in her brain, and a third was found at the base of her spine. Kyndal then went through two rounds of radiation and chemotherapy as treatment for the remaining tumors.
Oncology results showed Kyndal has medulloblastoma, the most common malignant tumor found in children.
According to her doctor at the children’s hospital, the tumors had been growing no longer than a few months to a few weeks before the surgery.
In July 2021, Kyndal began seven months of chemotherapy. Because a tumor was found on her spine, Kyndal’s chemotherapy treatment needed to be extremely intense.
Raquel’s father, Steve Gottfried, joined the two in Texas in Aug. 2021. He said, “Raquel is very strong. She pretty much takes the bull by the horn, but she still needed help. I was there mainly as a support [system].”
Due to the intense treatments, Kyndal was going through, her appetite was almost non-existent. However, she loved her Grandpa Steve’s tea and honey, which in the end helped her keep some weight on her.
“Everything went the way we expected it to go—it’s hard to believe,” says Raquel. “We dreamt of this time for so long, and the fact that it’s here is, just wow.”
She mentions one of the hardest parts for Kyndal was not being allowed to interact and play with other kids her age. Los Angeles Children’s Hospital will now be taking over Kyndal’s case. However, all her information from periodic checkups will be sent to Texas Children’s Hospital, who will be keeping tabs on Kyndal.
Every three months for the next two years, Kyndal will have a full-body MRI and lumbar puncture (due to one of the tumors found on her spine). After two years, pending everything goes smoothly, she will do the same checkup every six months.
“It really takes a village to get through something like this. From my coworkers, my job, my family, my friends, and just this community, I am so thankful for everyone and what they’ve done for us,” says Raquel.
“I’m thankful that we are at this point in our journey that we are able to celebrate, and all these answered prayers—it was hard being away from everyone, and just to be able to have this moment is really cool.”