Continuing to Move Forward: The Kelsi Carrico Story
If you're ever near Penn High School, there's a good chance you'll find freshman Kelsi Carrico competing.
She plays three sports (soccer, basketball, track), but what you don't know is a past that almost prevented her from having a future.
"I go out with that fighting mentality, I make sure I'm enjoying all the sports I'm doing, enjoying playing the game," Kelsi said.
"I never would've guessed that she would be doing what she's doing now participating in three varsity sports as a freshman, I mean it just blows my mind," Jason Carrico, Kelsi's dad, said.
Because 15 years ago, the Carrico family was dealt some difficult news.
"She just started to get her personality and it was really an emotional time," Jason said.
At nine months, Kelsi went in for a routine check up, but the doctor sent her straight to the hospital for a CT scan after feeling a mass growing on her abdomen.
"Shocking news; I mean honestly it felt like the world was ending," Jason said.
Doctors diagnosed Kelsi with neuroblastoma, one of the deadliest childhood cancers.
"It was devastating because you think cancer and you think death, and that was the first thing that came to my mind," Jason said.
"I couldn't even imagine what was going to be next," Daneyl Carrico, Kelsi's mom, said.
What followed was three rounds of chemotherapy and three separate surgeries, long days with Kelsi's parents never leaving her side.
"A lot of the times they would want just one parent by the bedside and I would literally just sleep in her crib with her so we could both stay overnight and I have pictures of you know me just sleeping in the crib, and I didn't care if I had to sleep in a crib, so that way he would have the sofa or whatever they had there but we never left her side the two of us and whatever we could do," Daneyl said.
After all that, doctors warned Kelsi's parents that she could have some developmental delays.
"After one of the surgeries, they said she might not be able to walk for a while," Jason said. "They have a wagon that you can pull the kids around in and she wanted to get out and the first thing she did was stand up and started running and it was pretty emotional but we knew things were probably going to be OK at that point."
Fast forward 15 years, and Kelsi goes about her normal life, cancer in the rear view mirror, and while she doesn't remember the experience, she still sees herself as one of the lucky ones.
"I do because I know there's thousands of cases every year who have cancer and I'm just that one or few that got to survive. That it's possible, you can win, I did so that means anyone can do it," Kelsi said.
Impressing those around her everyday.
"What she's doing and she's doing it all and she's wonderful and I just love watching her grow and she just makes me so happy, she's everything I could want and more," Daneyl said.