Emily Matilda Kass was a talented, funny, beautiful, athletic, kind, smart, and generous 9 year old at the time of her myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) diagnosis. She had just celebrated her 9th birthday with friends and had received a gymnastics trophy before a routine doctor’s appointment changed her life.
Emily was diagnosed with a very rare bone marrow failure disease, MDS. As there wasn’t any protocol for treating a pediatric MDS patient, numerous specialists around the country were consulted to try and come up with a plan.
For the next year and a half, Emily was in and out of the hospital with various treatments and complications, including extreme chemotherapy prior to a bone marrow transplant. Subsequently, Emily developed Bronchialitis Obliterans, a progressive lung disease. At the same time, Emily also endured a severe weakening of her bones due to all the medications she was taking.
Throughout her ordeal, Emily always stayed positive and kept her sense of humor. Emily was determined to get back to school and friends.
In January 2006, Emily was rushed to the hospital for the last time. For the next 6 weeks, she bravely battled her disease, even choosing to have a tracheotomy. Emily knew that using a machine to help her breathe would give her the energy to get back to school.
As Emily said, “I‘m going to 6th grade at Palos Verdes Intermediate School (PVIS)” and “I’ll just get one of those ‘aid’ people to push me around.” To her, now in a wheelchair, it was no big deal because she would be back at school with her friends.
Emily lost her fight on March 9, 2006. Emily is forever missed, forever loved, and forever in our hearts.