Early that summer, Kailey was preparing to compete in a horse show in her hometown of Albany, New York, and was experiencing neck pain and headaches. She went to her pediatrician, who ordered an MRI. “We were told to go immediately to the emergency room,” said Kailey’s mom, Donna. “They told us Kailey had a brain tumor causing swelling in her brain that needed immediate attention.”
At the Albany Medical Center, the pediatric oncologists and pediatric neurosurgeons told her parents, Scott and Donna, that they suspected Kailey had a medulloblastoma and would need surgery within 24 hours.
Soon after surgery, doctors wanted to begin radiation with weekly chemotherapy. On a follow-up MRI, the cancer team saw what appeared to be an additional tumor on the left side of her brain and discussed the possibility of a second surgery.
“We were very worried,” said Donna. “The doctors said the tumor was located in an area that controls motor skills. If she had the surgery, she would need physical therapy for walking and may not be able to ride again.”
That set the Pauls on a journey to explore alternatives to surgery, and they learned Kailey was an excellent candidate for proton therapy.