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Krisanna’s Story

       "Have a bright sunshiny yellow day!"

                                Krisanna Roberts

On May 26, 2009, 14 year old Krisanna celebrated graduation:  an MRI showed that the tumor bed remained stable following a 2004 gamma knife procedure on her third brain tumor, so she graduated to annual check-ups at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  

Merely two weeks later, an MRI revealed that a tumor at the base of her spine was the source of pain she had been experiencing for a month as sixth grade wound down and the promise of summer beckoned.  She returned to Memphis for the summer.

For eleven years Krisanna Roberts battled an aggressive brain tumor called an Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid Tumor.  She was St. Jude’s longest surviving AT/RT patient. The tumor first presented in the brain and returned twice following initial occurrence and treatment.  The fourth occurrence was the first time the tumor had presented in the spine.

Krisanna’s spirit and determination soared as she began what she called her “summer vacation at her home away from home” at Target House.  Arts and crafts was the name of the game ... and assigning each day a color unveiled the infinite spectrum of yellow for this pink and purple-loving princess.  In August, she returned home to Mobile, Alabama with big plans for seventh grade. 

On Septermber 1, Krisanna's spine scan showed that radiation had not reduced the tumor.  Hoping that long-term effects would reduce the size, Krisanna returned to school.  However, by the 3rd week of September, daily headaches, nausea, and emesis limited her activities.  By mid-October, she was in constant pain, eating little, and often dehydrated which home hospital visits helped only minimally.  We returned to St. Jude October 26 for a brain scan.

Shockingly, the scan revealed that the tumor had returned with a vengeance.  It covered her brain, and there were no medical options left.  Krisanna, however, didn't give up. She still had a lot of living to do!  With her Pollyanna spirit, she made big plans and celebrated every single day -- even the last in her hospital bed. She died in her "home away from home" on November 4, 2009.

Latest Journal Update

Make it a yellow weekend!

Yellow Day opens this weekend nationwide - a heartwarming faith-based movie whose title was inspired by Krisanna's approach to life encapsulated by yellow. 

Summer 2009 -- "The entire hospital was running behind yesterday, so she was late for every appointment which frustrated her because she lost time with Mr. Justin (school) and Miss Jessica (OT).  However, Target sponsored a cookie decorating event yesterday in the dining hall. She told everyone about her friend Miss Frances who taught her how to decorate cookies, and she even showed one of the executives a few tricks.  She decorated a few to take to her favorite people at the hospital today." 

This was the day that she started coloring her days. To help her deal with the teenage cancer emotional roller coaster, Miss Amy suggested she color her days in a journal and asked her what color would she choose for her best day. The next morning, Krisanna chose yellow for a "bright, sunshiny day." She colored every day after that!  So, Miss Amy, thank you~thank you~thank you for the gift you gave Krisanna!

Make it a yellow weekend and go see the movie! It runs through Tuesday or Wednesday in most theaters. Click here to check for showings in your area, then tell us about it here or on the Yellow Day facebook page.

Wishing all a bright sunshiny yellow weekend :-) 


8 people hearted this



Amy Stephenson
By David and Amy Stephenson — last edited
We took our children to see the movie Saturday night - we all loved it!. We told them the story of Krissana on the way home. What a great example of how to face life's challenges.
1 person hearted this
Christine Stouffer
By Christine
Thank You for the post. Going to see this movie soon!
1 person hearted this
Mollie Bell
By Mollie Bell
Can't wait to see it today!!
1 person hearted this
Colette Herring-Compton
By Colette
How sweet.
Love all of this and the movie too! <3
1 person hearted this
Rick and Denise Townsend
By Rick and Denise Townsend
Wonderful, I am sure that Krisanna is smiling.
1 person hearted this
Joanie Michelle Mcwright
By Joanie Michelle Mcwright
Wow! How fantastic. I can't wait to go see it.
1 person hearted this