Four-year-old Krystabelle Wiles is so happy and outgoing—she always seems to “spread a little sunshine” wherever she goes. Since the day she arrived as the very first baby of the New Year at Farmington’s Parkland Health Center, she has won people over with her sunny, go-with-the-flow personality. These traits are serving her well as she battles embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma—a form of muscle cancer.
“She’s so happy—just a trouper considering all she has been through in the past few months,” says her mom Corri Wiles. “In February of 2011, we took Krystabelle to Parkland Hospital for what we thought was a hernia that had appeared virtually overnight. The doctors quickly suspected something more serious and had her transported to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.”
A series of tests revealed a grapefruit-sized tumor that had originated on Krystabelle’s diaphragm—Embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. “This is a very rare type of cancer, especially for a four-year-old,” says Corri. “However, her doctors say that her age will work in her favor to help her not only withstand the treatments but also improve her long term prognosis.”
Krystabelle’s treatment began within days of her diagnosis and she is still undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Her grueling protocol is compounded by the family’s 193-mile-round-trip from their home in the Arcadia valley in Southeastern Missouri. “It’s worth it because she is receiving wonderful care at St. Louis Children’s Hospital,” says Corri. “We know she is in good hands medically and our whole family is benefitting from Child Life Services. She loves spending time in the playroom with her sister Alexandra and her brother Ayden. The staff is so nice—they do whatever they can to help and guide us through this stressful process. And of course—in spite of her challenging treatment—Krystabelle still has plenty of smiles and hugs for everyone she meets.”
Krystabelle is one of the honored “Ride for A Child” pediatric cancer patients for Pedal the Cause, a bicycle race in early October to raise money for cancer research in St. Louis. All the proceeds to go St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Siteman Cancer Center.
While she may be just four years old, Krystabelle’s outgoing personality coupled with her current diagnosis make her an outstanding ambassador in the quest to find better treatments—and hopefully a cure—for all types of cancer. “We were so excited when Krystabelle was asked to be part of Pedal the Cause,” says Corri. “Every time we come to St. Louis Children’s Hospital and the Siteman Cancer Center we are reminded of just how many kids and families are affected by this horrible disease. We know first-hand how important it is to find a cure and will do whatever we can to support research right here in St. Louis.”