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A Brave, BeauTEALful Warrior

BY Amy Roberts & Janine DeFeo
PUBLISHED June 04, 2018
We are submitting this story on behalf of Kirah Zook. Kirah reached out to Teal Butterfly Challenge via social media and shared her story. Kirah's wish was for her story to be told and that she would be able to reach others and spread awareness.

It was very important to her and we feel honored to be able to carry out that wish. Kirah's Story.

"Hello, my name is Kirah Zook. I'm 19 years old, and currently fighting ovarian cancer for the second time. I was diagnosed in May of 2017, and underwent a partial hysterectomy with the removal of my right ovary and fallopian tube then completed 3.5 months of chemo, went into remission, then found out it recurred on Feb. 25, and it came back more aggressively. I underwent another hysterectomy.

I've been following your movement and would like to support and join and share my story. I cannot have kids of my own, and I have a rare condition of Lynch syndrome. There's more to me than my diagnosis, and I'd like to share and inspire using your movement. When I was two, my maternal grandma also passed away from ovarian cancer. It's forever changed my life. I want to give hope."

Teal Butterfly Challenge kept in touch with Kirah, and learned more about what she was going through and the daily struggle of battling ovarian cancer. We were very saddened when we learned that Kirah earned her angel wings on May 21, 2018. Kirah was a healthy teenager, she played basketball, enjoyed modeling and spending time with her family – the least of her worries was being diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Most articles you read will say ovarian cancer is most common in women 50 to 60 years old. Kirah would want us to share that ovarian cancer does not care about age; she was only 18 when first diagnosed. Know the symptoms and listen to your body.

Kirah was a brave warrior, a fighter, and never gave up hope. Her best friend filmed a documentary of her during her brave fight. She is so positive, and we hope it will inspire others to keep fighting.

Kirah’s father asked that we also share about the underlying cause of Kirah's cancer CMMRD- constitutional mismatch repair deficiency syndrome. This is a rare condition that makes an individual more likely to develop some cancers, including cancers in the female reproductive organs (for example, the uterus and ovaries). CMMRD is related to changes in certain gene. Most children with constitutional mismatch repair deficiency syndrome inherit the MMR gene mutations from their parents. Parents of a child with constitutional mismatch repair deficiency syndrome have a 25 percent chance for each pregnancy of having a child with the same syndrome, according to the St. Jude Chindren’s Research Hospital. Genetic testing can be performed to see if one or both of the parents carry an MMR gene mutation.

It is also important that people know their risks and common signs of ovarian cancer, to detect the disease early for the best possible outcomes.
 
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