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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

Happy Birthday


Hey Sweet Girl ~

To celebrate your birthday, I headed to the Eastern Shore Center today. The first stop: our usual destination – Build a Bear -- where I could hear the laughter from Krisanna’s Krewe as we built bears for your birthday party to send to St. Jude's. They still have your picture with Bearemy in the back room – and I loved getting to tell the girls behind the counter all about that night that Miss Melissa let you be the Camp Rap-a-Hope representative. As always, you grabbed my attention in another of your favorite stores, Hallmark, where I discovered a Halloween necklet and a fabulous bag in which says, “Pack your own sunshine!”  And I was really glad you showed me that the yellow purse in Belk that I wanted at the beginning of the summer was now 75% off! I’m pretty sure you were saying you wanted to give it to me for my birthday :-)

As I drove across the Bayway, I smiled remembering other great birthday milestones:  at 10 you were so excited to go to Ruth’s Chris with Aunt Mollie and Uncle David; at 12 you proudly showed everyone your newly pierced ears; you enjoyed a surprise birthday party in the Lower School office when you turned 13 given by the principals and teachers; our fun American Girl weekend made 14 memorable; and the fabulous spa party with Krisanna’s Krewe at 15 was awesome! Your classmates sang happy birthday and ate yellow cupcakes from Mrs. Diehl and Miss Meridy each birthday after that until this year. What was I to do for 21?  Drive … ponder … it hit me: a facebook page for your foundation, Krisanna’s Garden. Yes, girl, you are officially on facebook - except it wouldn't let me put an apostrophe in your name, so it's just Krisannas Garden.  Kind of ironic for an English teacher, eh?

I try so hard to imagine what you would look like today at 21 years old – but I can’t.  I did well morphing you as your friends grew older, but somehow … 21 is just beyond me. Sometimes I still think of us as the mom and girl in this card you gave me :-)   I put it out every year during our birthday week because it reminds me of when I used to rock you and I’d kiss your head with each forward rock. One night I thought you had fallen asleep in my lap, so I leaned my head back against the chair. The next thing I knew, your sweet little hand reached up and gently pulled my face back down on top of your head so I would kiss it some more. I still laugh aloud every time I think about it!

21 years ago tonight I was so happy – Mr. God entrusted me with a beautiful baby girl who was perfect. Today I had the best day celebrating in Krisanna-style. Tonight I continue to gratefully thank Him for letting me be mom to the best girl ever! I hope your birthday party in heaven was bright yellow and sunshiny with lots of pink and purple to make it pop :-)

 Love you to the moon and back double twinkle to infinity ~ momu


15 people hearted this



Rick and Denise Townsend
By Rick and Denise Townsend
Happy birthday sweet angel.
Lizzie Barnwell
By Lizzie Barnwell
Happy Belated Birthday sweet girl! Always in my heart. Love, Lizzie
Stephanie Rogers
By Stephanie Rogers
Love you
Katie Witsoe
Happy Belated Birthday to Krisanna! I should have known it was her birthday as we were walking in the St. Jude Walk on Saturday morning and there was so much gold/yellow around, I knew Krisanna was there. I think of you both so often. Thank you continuing to write on CaringBridge. With each new post I learn more and more about Krisanna, her special spirit and yours.
With love,
Katie and Craig,
Connor, Anna, Ian, Matthew and always, Sean
1 person hearted this
avery hall
By Avery
Sending so much love to you and Mark! I love hearing how you always celebrate her birthday. I know she's smiling down today more than ever! Love to you all!
Karen Kuers
By Karen K
I was thinking about you both....knowing that Krisanna would be celebrating Heaven...and that she would have all sorts of surprises in store for remind you of how much she loves you!
Anne Smith
By Anne Smith
So glad you and Krisanna had sunny yellow birthdays! Thinking what a sophisticated and lovely young woman she would be at 21 😘
Debbie Buck
I love Krisanna's Garden!!!
I love and miss you sooo
Mollie Bell
By Mollie Bell
Something new to ponder!! At 21 she would be looking very grown up! Not my little dollface girl! I know probably the first thing I would say to her!! "Put a brick on your head! You are way too grown up!" I love you and we loved spending the evening with you. I so miss those fun birthday celebrations!