MAPLETON, Utah (ABC4 News) – Most of us have a bucket list of things we want to do in our lifetime. For one Utah girl, her bucket list is coming to life with the help of the community.
Kallie Jenson loves reading, writing and drawing, and has a huge heart and beautiful smile. She also has a very real bucket list, all because of a cancer diagnosis.
Kallie’s mother says she was first diagnosed with cancer two weeks before her 11th birthday with a rare form of soft tissue cancer in her jaw. She had a 15-hour surgery that consisted of a bone and tissue graft, various rounds of chemo and radiation. She underwent a few more surgeries on her jaw, but also gained a chronic jaw infection which resulted in another jaw surgery.
Her mother says she was clear for a few years, but then this year tested positive for another type of cancer, with a tumor on her head. She underwent more radiation, but her mother says the tumor is still growing.
That’s when the idea of a bucket list came to light.
“At first I didn’t want to do it because I thought it was like things that you do before you die,” said Kallie.
But she decided she wasn’t going to let anything hold her back from doing amazing things. She chose the 25 things she wants to do most. They include meeting Ellen DeGeneres, getting another puppy, designing her own clothes, and visiting Hawaii.
“I’ve never been and I’ve heard all my friends have been and I really like tropical places,” said Kallie.
Here’s her full bucket list:
For her family, it’s been a long, hard journey since the first diagnosis.
“You find the smallest little mercy that you can find in that day to be positive about that helps you get through until the end,” said Kallie’s mother, Kimberly Bjarnson.
Kallie’s light shines brightly throughout her entire school, says her teachers and friends. Kallie says there’s one way she gets through the hard times.
“Just be positive, I guess, and try and stay happy, that’s what’s helped me through it,” she said.
Her mother says she wants to make sure Kallie knows one thing.
“I just want to tell her, that she is beautiful and everybody sees it and I want you to know how beautiful you are and how everybody else thinks you are,” she told her daughter.
Kallie and her family will now go to Colorado to receive a trial drug they hope will help.
If you want to help Kallie, you can find her GoFundMe here.