Her basketball season is over, grade nine has been put on hold and hanging out with friends is a health risk. That’s the new reality facing Karin Khuong days after her 14th birthday when doctors at Vancouver’s Children’s Hospital determined swelling in her leg and soreness in her back was being caused by stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a soft-tissue childhood cancer.
Karin is full of life . She’s talkative, spunky and some would even say feisty. It is these qualities that have helped her develop into an elite basketball player at her age group. Months earlier, Karin, known as 2K to her teammates, led VK Basketball Carkner to the JR. NBA Canadian Championship where they lost by three points to Welland Warriors in the national final. Karin guarded Welland’s top player and held her to three points. Looking back, it was an amazing accomplishment considering she had tumours throughout her body.
But this story is not just about Karin – it’s about a community too – and people coming together to help a family facing the most difficult journey of their lives.
Love, support and a basketball community
The diagnosis was gut-wrenching for Karin, her parents, Jen and Anthony, brothers Jacob and Justin, and all of their family. It also shocked friends at two high schools and a basketball community.
Karin is such a positive and dynamic personality that she attracted a lot of friends from school over the years. Most of Karin's school friends are attending Riverside Secondary while she chose to attend Terry Fox along with all of her basketball teammates, instantly making Terry Fox one of the top teams in British Columbia in junior girls’ basketball.
After Karin’s diagnosis, word spread through social media. Soon there were car pools, and bus trips, and a caravan of well-wishers making their way to her bedside. Karin celebrated her 14th birthday surrounded by family and friends.
The Story Continues
Shortly after the diagnosis, Karin received a day pass to leave the hospital, and with a few hours notice, friends and their families came together to throw her a party. Close to 100 people attended. Although a few tears were shed, the house was filled with smiles and positive energy. The following day, Karin was granted another day pass and she chose to spend it in the gym with teammates shooting hoops and having dinner with her family.
The Terry Fox Ravens will continue to play basketball this season, wearing a special “2K” patch on their uniforms. The high school is not only named after a Canadian icon but also his spirit lives on in the perseverance and determination of its students. This year’s Ravens are fueled by love and compassion, their mission to raise the BC provincial championship banner in honour of 2K.
The next chapter
Karin will began chemo therapy shortly. The treatment is expected to be year-long and it will be exhausting. Karin will be isolated from having contact with all but a few people because of her weakened immune system. Grade nine classes will be put on hold–for now.
While Karin is going to need all of the tenacity and toughness she developed on the basketball court to take on cancer one-on-one, the reality is, there is a community full of hope, love, and prayers ready to support at all times.
If you would like to help financially: https://www.gofundme.com/give-karin-time-with-her-family
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you in advance for any contribution you can make to help Karin. We are grateful for your generosity and for your prayers.