Shylah’s Story

On Monday October 6, 2014 Tarah rushed our daughter Shylah to the Emergency Room at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. She had been having complication with breathing and catching her breath, which we believed to be virus related.


We had been to her pediatrician and treating her for what we believed was just a cold she caught, causing inflammation of her lungs. In fact, I was in Washington DC for work when I got the call from Tarah at 1.30amEST saying that she was heading to the ER with Shylah.

This wasn’t a cold.

The next call from Tarah at 6amEST had me heading to the airport to catch an emergency flight home. I was somewhere in the air between Minneapolis and Sacramento when I got the news via text message that would change our lives. After testing for asthma and heart disease, an x-ray revealed that Shylah had a mass.

This was cancer.

A screen grab of the text message I received from Tarah somewhere in the air between Minneapolis and Sacramento.

The doctors said that this appeared to be a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but would need to admit her to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) to try and stabilize her and do further tests and scans. Her condition was so serious that the doctors asked that we keep her from crying, for fear that any kind of sustained anxiety could collapse her airway and make things significantly worse; a life threatening kind of worse.

Dark skies loomed over Washington DC the morning I headed home, not yet knowing the kind of storm that I'd be flying into.
Dark skies loomed over Washington DC the morning I headed home, not yet knowing the kind of storm that I’d be flying into.

We would spend the next 25 days at UC Davis’ Children’s Hospital trying to stabilize her by reducing the size of the tumor through steroids and chemotherapy. Once she was stable, a biopsy could be performed that would provide a definitive diagnosis on exactly what kind of lymphoma Shylah faced. In the meantime, she would continue her chemotherapy.

Shylah in the PICU at UC Davis Children's Hospitial on October 7th.
Shylah in the PICU at UC Davis Children’s Hospitial on October 7th.

Our time in the hospital with Shylah would test our resolve and faith in ways that we just weren’t prepared for as parents. Yet God has met us in these difficult circumstances and provided His grace and mercy. We’ve been immensely blessed by so many who continue to pray for Shylah and our family on a daily basis. We believe God hears our prayers and we continue to pray and petition that He heal Shylah. Your continued prayers are more than we could ask for and are greatly appreciated.


It has almost been a month since Shylah was discharged from the hospital and unfortunately the biopsy has returned “inconclusive” results. While this is extremely disappointing, the clinical diagnosis is that this is an immature t-cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma and will require 24-30 months of chemotherapy. This is going to be a long journey for our young family, but God willing we will see Shylah through to a full recovery, living a long and healthy life.

Thank you for all of your prayers, love and support as we walk through this.

Kasey and Tarah