Mighty Blog

Team Kylie Strong: Kylie’s story of strength and resilience

Friendly, active, playful with her sister and friends, then 6-year-old Kylie’s Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) diagnosis was a shock to her family. It was March 31, 2019.

“The day she was diagnosed hit us like a ton of bricks,” said Kylie’s dad, Dave.

After they received the news in the emergency room, she and her family were taken to a room on the fifth floor where they were given information on the condition, and what additional tests needed to be done. Two days later, they discovered she had AML.

“I just got tunnel vision. But I knew we were in the right place to get her help,” Dave said.

Kylie’s treatments and her Children’s Minnesota family

Kylie’s stay at the Children’s Minnesota lasted for seven months, being able to come home only four times for a couple of weeks. It was during that long stay that Kylie and her family grew close to her care team – nurses, doctors, The Dude and the Geek Squad team.

“The nurses were definitely one of the best things at the hospital. They are trained to do the medical stuff, but the personal touch they had and brought to Kylie was so amazing,” said Dave.

One nurse in particular, Sydney Gilbertson, made Kylie’s experience truly special, despite her ongoing fight through treatments.

“It was Easter 2019 and my wife had hidden eggs in Kylie’s room for an Easter egg hunt. Kylie ended up keeping one egg for the remainder of treatment,” Dave recalled.

Kylie and one of her nurses, Sydney Gilbertson

Sydney and Kylie would hide the egg for each other all over the 7th floor hallways for each other to find. “It was so sweet to see them having fun,” said Dave.

The family even nominated Sydney – and she received – a Daisy Award for her above and beyond care.

Star Studio and the Geek Squad team became close friends of Kylie’s, as well. During her stay, she looked forward to visits from The Dude – playing games and catch, and taking time to color together. And when she was able, she enjoyed making her own visits down to the Geek Squad to hang out and play video games in their office.

Going home

Kylie at home.

Kylie won her months-long battle with AML in October 2019.

“It was actually bittersweet to go home because we had formed such strong bonds with her care team, members of the Geek Squad and The Dude,” said Dave. “Kylie and our family were so excited to be done with the medical part of treatment. However, we had an emptiness inside about leaving the nurses, staff and doctors that were our family for seven months.”

Kylie today

Now seven years old, Kylie is as strong as ever. Since her release in October 2019, her family took her on a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in December.

She is back to her active self, doing gymnastics and restarting her swimming lessons. And her family is excited to share that Kylie is able to join them this year in the Virtual Walk for Amazing for Children’s Minnesota.

Giving back to Children’s Minnesota

Kylie’s family participated in Walk for Amazing last year as she was receiving treatments. This year, they’re looking forward to giving back to those who cared for Kylie and helped her win her fight against leukemia.

“The nurses, doctors, staff, Geek Squad, Star Studio, and of course, the Dude took such great care of Kylie, and our family. Now we want to give back,” said Dave. “This is a fun and great opportunity we have to show support for Children’s Minnesota. We walk for Kylie, we walk for all the patients and families, we walk for all of the staff at Children’s Minnesota.”

He is hoping to raise over $3,000 and have a team of at least 25 at Walk for Amazing and is thrilled that Kylie and her mom can be there this year.

kylie and her family.

Children’s Minnesota Virtual Walk for Amazing

Walk for Amazing is still on. But instead of meeting up at U.S. Bank Stadium, we’ll rally our families at home. You’re invited to walk, play, climb, dance — whatever gets your heart pumping — and raise money for Children’s Minnesota.

Now more than ever, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, Children’s Minnesota is relying on the support of the community to continue to deliver a special kind of kid-focused care, safely and effectively.

Alexandra Rothstein