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Politics

18-Year-Old Kiki Kitsinis Battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

April 17, 2019
Yannis Sofianos

LOS ANGELES – Greek-American Angeliki (Kiki) Kitsinis, is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) with the support of her family, relatives, and friends.

The latest news on 18-year-old Kiki’s health is encouraging, but doctors are constantly on the watch, as they know how aggressive this type of cancer is, and do not want to raise any false hopes.

As The National Herald previously reported, during the 43rd Annual Greek Orthodox Folk Dance & Choral Festival (FDF), the largest youth ministry program of the Metropolis of San Francisco, in February, a special mention was made about Kiki and her battle for a life free of cancer.

Since then, many people, Greeks and non-Greeks, have rushed to help in any way they can, especially through the GoFundMe campaign created by Kiki’s father, George Kitsinis, to help pay for the expensive medical treatments. As of April 16, $42,465 of the $65,000 goal was raised by 223 people in just one month.

The GoFundMe page shares the family’s struggle:

“Hi Everyone,

For those who believe, each day is a gift from God. We often take each sunrise and sunset for granted. When we feel good, our children are thriving, and our lives fall into a routine, we usually do not think about ‘what-ifs.’ But ‘what if’ one day our lives were impacted in such a way that each sunrise and sunset were given the utmost importance as if they were our last, what if one of our children were debilitatingly ill, and our so-called routine becomes drastically altered? This is the current reality for our dear friends, the Kitsinis family. Their middle daughter Kiki has been recently diagnosed with ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).

“Kiki is the strongest girl we have ever met. She has had many adversities in her short life but the greatest of these was on her 18th birthday (2-12-2019) when she was given the cancer diagnosis. Her senior year of high school will now consist of chemotherapy, losing her hair, many medical treatments, and doctors’ visits, instead of Winter Formal, finals, Senior Prom, and graduation. Immediately after her diagnosis, she was hospitalized, and an aggressive form of chemotherapy began.

“Kiki is a warrior and has met every adversity thrown at her head on. She is ready for the fight; she is ready to beat cancer, but she needs your help. The cost of cancer treatment is tremendous and while her family is thankfully insured, insurance does not cover everything. It does not cover many prescriptions, certain procedures, expensive medications, frequent doctor visits, the potential reality of more hospital stays, and it definitely will not cover the cost for one of her parents to be with her during this battle. As a parent, can you ever fathom the thought of not being able to be there for your child in their darkest hour and not be able to physically provide for them as well?

“We sincerely thank everyone for their prayers, positive thoughts, and genuine support for Kiki’s fight. If you are so inclined to give any support to help in Kiki’s treatment expense, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

An update on Kiki’s condition follows:

“On Monday March 18th, the Kitsinis family received terrific news about Kiki’s bone marrow test – results indicated 0% leukemia cells have been detected. At the moment, Kiki’s body is not producing any cancerous cells. God has heard our prayers! Although this is fantastic news, the doctors are continually monitoring Kiki as they know how aggressive cancer can be and do not want to raise any false hopes for this serious and life-threatening disease. The battle is far from over for Kiki and her family. Glory be to God and thanks be to all of you who continue to bless the Kitsinis’ through your continuous kindness, prayers, and generosity! Praying that God will bestow upon all of you all the goodness you have showered the Kitsinis’ with.

“Kiki was given the rest of the week off from chemo treatments; she spent time each day in the backyard getting some fresh air and was well enough on a Saturday night to go out to dinner to her favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen! It felt great to get out of the house, and she proudly wore her new wig!

“On Monday March 25th, Kiki started the first half of Phase II of her treatment, Intensification. Over the course of these 4 weeks Kiki will take 6 different chemotherapy drugs, some of them administered thru weekly spinal taps. Not only is this incredibly painful and debilitating, but the migraines caused by leaking cerebral spinal fluid for days afterward are extremely intense and very difficult to manage. After the first treatment, Kiki is working hard to maintain her positive outlook; relying on her faith, and the love and support she is receiving from the #Standforkiki community.

“Please continue praying for Kiki and her family. Without your support both spiritually as well as financially, Kiki and her family would have far less opportunities for Kiki to be adequately treated and her chances for recovery would be greatly decreased.

“Thanks to each and every one of you and may the blessings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you always!”

About the family:

Angeliki “Kiki” is the middle daughter of George and Charisse Kitsinis, of Orange, CA.

George is a first generation Greek-American. His parents came to California from Koropi, Attikis via a stop in Toronto when George was 2 years old. George was raised in Anaheim and has attended St. John the Baptist Church there since he was a child, and has been actively involved in Greek Folk Dancing, GOYA Basketball, Sunday School, and Greek School. He met Charisse, his future wife, when they were 16 and have been together ever since. She converted to Greek Orthodoxy and has been actively involved at St. John’s. The eldest of their three daughters, Anastasia, is a college softball player and has been invited to play with the Greek National Softball team. Kiki and her younger sister Athena have been Greek dancing at St. John’s from the age of 4.

Kiki’s mother, Charisse, said, “Thank you again for sharing Kiki’s story with our wider Orthodox community. It was such a shock to celebrate her 18th birthday in the hospital with this life-changing diagnosis, but we know God has placed our family on this path for a good reason, so we are embracing it as well as we can. It has certainly helped us articulate our faith and appreciate it even more.”

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