Kathleen’s tumor was visible at six months of age; it was however, misdiagnosed and mistreated for three years after that time. Kathleen has faced excruciating pain from the cancer. The pain was so extreme that she would wake up in the middle of the night screaming and could no longer wear a shirt because nothing could touch her arm. She grew up not only unable to use but also shielding that arm because a mere bump from another child would cause her unimaginable pain.

It was not until January of 2009 that Kathleen was able to get the Mayo Clinic to get a proper diagnosis. At this time she was diagnosed with a rare, cancerous tumor medically referred to as “kapisform hemangioendothelioma.” This tumor is located on the lining of her blood vessels and has spread throughout her left arm, back and chest. The tumor had gotten so large in fact that the doctor that presented Kathleen’s mother with this diagnosis declared that Kathleen was lucky to be alive.

Since Kathleen’s diagnosis she has begun weekly chemotherapy treatments at the U of M. After six months of these treatments they were forced to cut back on the dose due to the neuropathy Kathleen was dealing with in her hands and feet which became so painful that she lost her ability to walk for several days at a time and made it painful to even color. At her last MRI the doctors concluded that the medicine is not shrinking the tumor. They plan to finish the quarter of chemotherapy, making it a full year that Kathleen has received this medicine, at which point the doctors do not know what they are going to do. The doctors are consulting with other professionals from Boston and Cincinnati and hoping to come up with an effective treatment option to save Kathleen. These options are promised to be harsher on Kathleen’s health and may require out of state treatment.

Currently, Kathleen is a wonderful four year old girl who is attending Preschool. She loves playing hide and seek, painting, dancing, reading stories, swimming, dress up, and exploring the world around her! Despite her hardships, Kathleen has maintained her positive attitude and love for life throughout this journey! Kathleen and her mother are faced with uncertainty at this time and are reaching out to the community for help as they continue their fight to save Kathleen from this cancer!

Saturday, February 26th from 4-8 at the VFW in Sauk Rapids Kathleen’s family and friends will be hosting a Spaghetti Dinner for Kathleen.

Tickets can be purchased in advance by calling (763)377-0382. Volunteers for the event and items for the live/silent auction are also needed. Anyone wanting to make a donation can send it to Kathleen Riehm Benefit,1st National Bank, Attn: Cheryl, PO Box 449 Maple Lake, MN 55358.

For more information you can visit her caring bridge website: