By Alissa Reinhard
A true testament to one’s character is not the foresight and ability to give back when in a position of prosperity, but rather when one finds him or herself in a tough spot themselves.
When Reagan High School student Kylie Durish was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the sophomore, her family and friends were shocked. Kylie, an athlete and member of the Reagan Volleyball team bravely underwent three surgeries and intensive chemotherapy after her August 31, 2016 diagnosis.
“On September 2, we found it was Stage 3, in her neck, chest and abdomen,” explained Jennifer Durish, Kylie’s mother. “It was a complete shock.”
Kylie was treated at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where she was on six chemotherapy medications administered on day one, two, three and seven of every 21-day cycle.
Kylie’s oncologist thought initially she would need six rounds of chemo plus radiation, but thankfully she experienced a “rapid response” to treatment, meaning instead she needed four rounds of chemotherapy and no radiation. She is now in remission.
“Kylie has gone through her fight with a positive attitude, strength, faith, and always giving back to others that are enduring their own fight,” said Jennifer.
Right after Thanksgiving, Kylie began collecting toys to donate to the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where she received treatment. Many children in treatment spend the holidays in the hospital and oftentimes, families don’t have the time or money to shop for gifts. The donated toys may be the only ones these children receive. Ultimately, she was able to deliver nearly 300 gifts to the hospital.
“Kylie was inspired to give back because so many people in the community have supported her,” explained Jennifer. “That support meant so much to her, so the best way for her to show her gratitude was to pay it forward to others. It brought her great joy to know that she was helping so many other children like herself.”
Generous donations from the Reagan Volleyball team, friends and family, and Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids who gave patrons $2 off a haircut when they donated a toy, helped make Kylie’s toy drive possible. She dropped off the toys at the hospital on December 20. Families were then able to come and pick out the toys that their child(ren) would enjoy the most.
“Our entire family is tremendously proud of Kylie’s strength, faith, hope, compassion, courage, and grace,” stated Jennifer. “She has made a positive difference in people’s lives and brought so many people joy. She has such a bright heart and is always thinking of others.”