Community rallies to keep Kira smiling

It was a busy Saturday at the Jewel Theatre, where proceeds of a special day were going to help keep a smile on a local girl's face.

Kira Richardson

Kira Richardson

It was a busy Saturday at the Jewel Theatre, where proceeds of a special day were going to help keep a smile on a local girl’s face.

Seven-year-old Kira Richardson was diagnosed with osteosarcoma – bone cancer – in February. The bone cancer is the same type that affected Terry Fox.

The diagnosis was unexpected – Kira’s parents, BobbiJo and Garth Richardson, took her to the doctor after Kira had limped for a week.

After an examination and an x-ray here in Stettler, Kira was sent to the Children’s Hospital in Calgary for a biopsy, which revealed the cancer.

The CT scan also revealed spots in Kira’s lungs, the first place bone cancer usually will move, but biopsies revealed the spots to be noncancerous.

While Kira wasn’t at the event at the Jewel Theatre, since her chemotherapy has greatly suppressed her immune system, her presence was felt by everyone who came. The event, which cost $25 a ticket, bought people entry to a movie and popcorn, with the proceeds going to help Kira. In the lobby, event-goers could make special buttons that would be given to Kira to help encourage her, as well as leave positive messages.

The money being raised by the community will help cover the costs incurred by the family during their trips back and forth between Stettler and Calgary.

The Richardsons declined to speak with the Independent, saying they were overwhelmed by the support, but noted that they’re very grateful to everyone who has contributed financially or through the website.

A website for Kira, www.keepkirasmiling.com, has a form on its main page where people can simply write messages of encouragement and hope.

These messages have helped keep Kira’s spirits up through the sickness caused by the chemotherapy and the surgery she will have to have on her leg to remove the cancerous cells once chemotherapy is complete.

“We would like to thank everyone for the support, love and prayers for Kira,” BobbiJo Richardson said on the Keep Kira Smiling Facebook page.

“Kira has been very scared but is being super, super strong. She is amazing us every day. Considering what she has gone through in such a short time, she is doing great, and still smiling.”