Fighting Cancer Together: Best Friends Celebrate Final Treatment

Keely and Haylee

In October 2020, two families—strangers at the time—received the same overwhelming diagnosis for their daughters: leukemia. Treatment started the following day, landing both young girls at Children’s, where they met and began going on daily walks around the hall. They quickly became best friends and started sporting matching outfits.

Five-year-old Keely and 7-year-old Haylee felt different from their peers, having lost their hair to chemotherapy and needing ports placed in their chests, but both girls had a friend to lean on who was having the same experience. They shared countless special memories, including a pizza party while snowed in at the Carolyn Scott Rainbow House, Children’s hospitality house for patients and families. Their treatments often fell on the same day, giving the girls something to look forward to rather than fear and dread. Coloring, playing and laughing have been powerful medicine for Keely and Haylee.

“Their spirit and temperament during treatment have been inspiring,”
– Jill Beck, M.D., division chief of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

This special bond created at Children’s extends to the girls’ families, as well. Keely’s mom, Cami, says, “I don’t know how we would have gotten through this without having that connection. We were going through the exact same thing at the exact same time, and it feels like a lifelong friendship that’s only developed within the last two years.”

Haylee’s mom, Kayla, says, “It’s nice to have someone else who knows what you’re talking about and going through. To other families, I would say it’s important to take it one day at a time, find a good support system and learn to accept the help.”

In December 2022, both girls celebrated their final chemo infusion treament, final spinal tap and port removal. Children’s expert team of doctors and nurses, who have provided them with care and support every step of the way, as well as family members and friends, lined the hallway to clap them out of Children’s Infusion Center one final time—a memorable celebration of true courage and resiliency.

“We have approximately 100 new cancer diagnoses a year and have done hundreds of these clap-outs, but this was the first double walkout I’ve been a part of,” Dr. Beck says. “The girls’ bond was unique because they were so close in age and had the exact same diagnosis at the same time. So much of this journey for them has been side by side, so it made sense for them to finish it together, too.”

Keely and Haylee

Learn more about Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Nebraska.


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