Kaitlin’s Krewe fights for lymphoma cure

Sophie Hill, Staff Reporter

On July 16, the younger sister of senior Karina Yap and sophomore Cameron Yap received life-changing news; she was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer attacking the lymphatic system which regulates the filtering of harmful contaminants in bodily fluids.

Friends and family of the seventh grader were shocked.

“I mean out of all of us it just had to happen to her, right? The littlest, the smallest, the youngest; she was so innocent,” Cameron Yap said.

Kaitlin Yap began treatment almost immediately, choosing a more aggressive plan of action for chemotherapy treatments, and her brother and sister, although worried throughout the ordeal, kept a positive attitude.

“Whenever I saw her I tried to make her laugh or make her smile,” Cameron Yap said. “I would do shenanigans or goofy stuff in her room.” His antics ranged from bringing a board game to pelvic thrusting in front of cameras for Kaitlin and all of the hotel staff to see.

“He did a lot of dancing,” Kaitlin Yap said. “It really made my day and made me laugh and it just made everything a little bit better.” And as Kaitlin’s progress improved, her brother’s dancing did not improve.

“Yea, the dancing was funny, but it was definitely not the good kind of dancing,” Kaitlin said.

Throughout the twerk-induced laughs and positive attitudes the Yap family stuck to with the help of friends like sophomore Johnny Albano of ‘The Posse,” a close-knit group of five friends who were there for Cameron Yap as he helped his sister battle cancer. Another characteristic arose from the ordeal; Kaitlin’s courage.

“She has grown up in so many ways that most 12 year-olds don’t have to,” Karina Yap said. “She’s so mature and strong and we admire her more than she thinks. She’s like our hero.”

Kaitlin Yap’s status according to her brother is, “currently bald,” but doctors say the 12 year-old is in remission and if the cancer does not return within the next year, it should not return at all. Kaitlin Yap accredits her victorious fight against cancer to her supporters.

“My friends and my family and Cameron all helped me get through it and they kept telling me to never give up and to keep fighting. And I didn’t, I never gave up. I never stopped fighting,” Kaitlin Yap said.

And so, as week-long hospital visits and grueling treatments come to an end, Kaitlin’s Krewe will begin planning events for next year’s Light the Light walk to for the Lymphoma and Leukemia society with the help of people from the community.

“Cancer is nonsense, it shouldn’t be happening,” Leigh-Ann Tepper, head of Katilin’s Krewe, said. “A few years back I had a child who was really sick. Everyone wanted to do something but there wasn’t much to do. I had to watch my daughter’s friends feel useless. So when Kaitlin was diagnosed I just wanted a way to make it easier for people to do something for the Yaps.”

Kaitlin’s Krewe did just that. Not only did it raise more than $5,500 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through karaoke parties, carwashes and bracelet sales, but the outpour of love, support and kindness helped Kaitlin Yap to successfully charge through four rounds of chemotherapy.

But Tepper says Kaitlin’s Krewe could not  fight cancer alone.

“You can just smile at somebody and help them; after all, people go through bad days, whether they’re fighting cancer, know someone fighting cancer, or once fought it themselves, and just one smile will brighten their day.”