Karli Costley

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karli_costley_3414aKevin and Amy Costley are the proud parents of five kids. The final child was Karli, and little did they know what kind of ride Karli would take the family on. Born 08JUN05, Karli came out wide eyed and roaring to go. The most noticeable feature of Karli was her beautiful blue eyes. But her beautiful blue eyes turned out to be a thorn in her side.

At the age of three, in 2008, Karli was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. She was almost blind in her left eye. She had a lesion that covered the majority of her eye, and the right eye was beginning to follow the same path. At that point, it was accepted that Karli would lose her left eye to surgery to give her the best chance of living a somewhat normal life. Then, stepped in a man that forever changed Karli’s life, Dr. Abramson.

Dr. Abramson of, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City had been conducting clinical trial studies on Intra-arterial Chemotherapy. Proven effective in Japan, it was just not the normal procedures here in the US yet. It was a delicate procedure where they infuse chemo directly to the eye. In layman’s terms, they went through a catheter about the size of a hair, through the femoral artery and infused about 1/2 cc of chemo directly to the eye. The treatment had a slight chance of working because of how advanced the lesion in her left eye was, but five treatments later she was given the cancer free news.  Since the success of Karli’s surgery, this type of procedure has become standard in children with retinoblastoma.

Karli has been cancer free since the final treatment in January of 2009. The family still travels to NYC every 3-4 months to have testing done on Karli’s eye to ensure it’s cancer free. Karli and the family have worked with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation to help raise funds for her and others that suffer from childhood cancers. Looking back on things, if you were to ask the family in 2008 where they thought they would be today with Karli’s beautiful blue eyes, the answer would probably have been different than the outcome. All because they met one man who said “let’s give it a shot” Needless to say, he is highly adored by the Costley family and more so by a true hero, Karli Costley.

Karli is a hero, but in her own rights somewhat of a pioneer. Before her treatment, the treatment was not regularly practiced, and now it has become the standard in all children that suffer from retinoblastoma. So today not only do I ride for a hero, but also I ride for someone who has paved the way for other children. Our hero Karli Costley. Godspeed Ken.

You can read more about Karli’s story on Alex’s Lemonade site here: http://www.alexslemonade.org/newsroom/heroes/karli-costley

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