Created: 05/30/2014 6:18 AM WHEC.com
By: Lia Lando
Back in 2012 if you asked Katie Foster what's most important to her she would likely tell you dancing and her best friend, Mareesa, who also happens to be her cousin. They do everything together. But little did they know they would also be fighting cancer together. They were diagnosed within 24 hours of each other.
Katie Foster said, “That was the craziest part because our cancers are completely different. I didn't know what to think. I was more worried about Mareesa than I was about myself."
Before she was diagnosed, Katie was experiencing extreme back pain and noticed her ribs were starting to pop out and her spine beginning to curve. Her parents, Lisa and Jeff, thought it was just a dance injury but x-rays showed a large mass on her spine and excess fluid on her left lung. On November 11, 2012, Katie was diagnosed with a rare soft tissue cancer.
Dr. Razia Akhtar said, “She had this horrible tumor called rhabdomyosarcoma and she had probably one of the worst types I've ever seen."
To fight it meant a lot of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation but after more than a dozen rounds of chemo and six weeks radiation, she had a lot of complications. Katie was in and out of the hospital, sometimes for months at a time. Her mother Lisa said, “She had such bad side effects, she couldn't keep food down. She was constantly vomiting. She had a g-tube inserted into her stomach."
Katie kept fighting and about 10 months after being diagnosed, she was able to slowly get back into dancing.
This past March she had a special recital with a solo focused on overcoming obstacles and breaking free. Even though Katie recently learned the cancer has returned and she's started treatment again ,she and her family are focusing on the positives.
Her father Jeff Foster said, “You have to stay positive because you can't crawl up into a hole and say goodbye because she is gonna win this!"
She's never going to let that stop her from dancing but now after all she has been through, she has a new dream. Katie said, “I would love to be a nurse now because of all my amazing nurses at Golisano. They have inspired me to become a nurse."