Zainab Kahn: Girl Of The Year - Coronado Eagle & Journal | Coronado News | Coronado Island News: Coronado Island News

Zainab Kahn: Girl Of The Year

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 2:40 pm

Zainab Khan of Coronado is the current Girl of the Year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, San Diego and Hawaii chapter. This cheerful, energetic 5-year-old is entering the last of five phases of treatment for Leukemia which ends on Aug. 24. Besides monthly infusions of chemo, she has taken daily oral chemo since she was three.

Prognosis for a child is much more optimistic than for a 30-year-old. She seems to have already returned to normal activities: finishing the Junior Kindergarten at Christ Church Day School, participating in weekly Hip Hop classes, and being a member of T-Ball’s Lightening Dream Team.

The journey to recovery began in April 2017, when Zainab’s energy level plummeted, followed by a long list of small symptoms. Known as the child who lead the parade at school or parties, she became visibly exhausted one weekend following a Spring Break vacation to Arizona. When her mother Naureen Kahn began carrying her around, parents at the two birthday parties started asking if she was ill, but Kahn rationalized that perhaps Zainab had not recovered from the vacation. Bruises had appeared, but children do get bruises when they are active and sometimes get tired from being too active. Spots on the tongue, however, signaled alarm.

A call after the blood tests started with, “Hope you’re sitting down.” After relaying the leukemia diagnosis, the doctor instructed the family to pack bags and go to Rady Children’s Hospital immediately. No delay. The April 17 phone call started the recovery process, and the date remains seared in the Kahn’s memory.

Zainab was in the hospital for thirty-one days with parents taking turns sleeping nearby. An older brother Aman needed attention at home and an expectation of some normalcy, so the family learned to “divide and conquer” and to ask for help which was readily available. Unlike Zainab who is a bundle of energy, “Aman is cautious, laid back, easy going, social, likes baseball.”

When Zainab’s hospital stay ended, she was confined to the house, and the family attempted to provide distractions and entertainment. The living room became filled with art supplies, books, a princess tent. As she improved and gained her energy back, she returned to Christ Church Day School. The school participated in a three- week STEM curriculum on blood cancer, with age appropriate material for each level. Their Pennies for Patients fundraising collected $476 in loose change to donate to her Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Campaign. On May 16 the school surprised Zainab with 100 confetti cards to count down her last 100 days of treatment which will end Aug. 24.

Fund raising became an important part of the family’s focus. They wanted people to know they were doing their part in helping to raise awareness as well as funds for research. As part of the awareness campaign, they began sharing their story. Sharing not only gets other families involved but, also, is a part of the family’s healing process. Aman’s Cub Scout den secured donated lemons and had a stand selling lemonade and baked goods in a front yard behind the Book Fair during the weekend of the Flower Show. The kids did all the work and raised $620 in one day. The campaign included multiple fundraising events which ended June 1 at a gala with a total of nearly $8000 raised for Zainab’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Campaign.

After moving to San Diego in 2017, the Kahn family moved to Coronado in 2014. They are grateful for the support they have received from the community. As they enjoy participation in local activities, they will continue to be involved with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its mission: “Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.”

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