Malakai, a.k.a. Kai, was diagnosed with Synovial Sarcoma, a very rare cancer on November 10 — just five days before his first birthday. At 4 months we noticed that every time we touched the bottom of his left foot he would start to cry. At that time their wasn’t a noticeable bump until 6 months. We were referred to an orthopedic surgeon who instructed us to monitor it and that 99.9% of these little bumps on kids are benign. At 9 months the bump started growing and was beginning to become discolored. We asked our pediatrician for a referral for an MRI. When results came back inconclusive, we scheduled an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to have the bump biopsied. When pathology results came back as Synovial Sarcoma, we were devastated. We fell to our knees and prayed for guidance.
We were fortunate enough to get three professional opinions on treatment plans that all came back with the same treatment. In Malakai’s case, the cancer was localized to his left foot and the best outcome for him was amputation of the foot to get clean margins and get rid of all tumor. We met with an oncology team at UCLA led by Dr. Federman and oncological surgeon Dr. Bernthal, who we fell in love with, and decided this is where we would get the best treatment for our son.
Malakai had a successful syme’s amputation at UCLA and pathology came back with clean margins. He is now pain free and CANCER FREE! We are now working with a prosthetist to get Kai a prosthetic foot. Malakai is a thriving and a growing little warrior who has kicked cancer goodbye. For a 15-month-old he has gone through more than most adults have — two surgeries, multiple anesthesia cases for MRI’s and CT scans, poked and prodded, and multiple trips to the doctors. He is strong, resilient, unstoppable and reminds us everyday that life is a gift and with God by our side all things are possible.
If you or a loved one has been impacted by sarcoma cancer, we encourage you to share your story. Sharing your story can be such an inspiration to others who are dealing with sarcoma in their own life and remind us all of the urgency to find better treatments in order to make an impact on the devastation that sarcoma cancer brings. Let your experiences help others become involved with raising awareness!