Kathryn Winn

Ten-year-old Kathryn Winn likes bowling, Harry Potter, chicken wings and the Boston Red Sox.  She also likes the team of providers at Vermont Children’s Hospital who helped her beat the cancer she was diagnosed with at the age of seven.

It was in the fall of 2004 that Kathryn developed a low-grade fever that wouldn’t go away.  At first, her parents Nancy and Joe didn’t think it was anything unusual.  But by the time the holidays rolled around, Kathryn’s first grade teacher at Flynn Elementary told the girl’s parents, "This is not the same girl who walked into my classroom at the beginning of the school year."

That one observation sparked further investigation, and Kathryn’s providers at University Pediatrics recommended a simple blood test. Nancy was told to call back later that day for the results.

The blood test revealed that Kathryn had an extremely high white blood count, and soon the Winns learned that their daughter had leukemia.  Within a few hours, Kathryn was on Baird 5 in a reverse air flow room, being prepared for her first round of chemotherapy.

"I had no idea what was going on," says Kathryn today.  "But I remember that I got so tired of people coming in and out that one doctor told me I could hang a sign on my door, ‘No Boys Allowed!"

Kathryn’s treatment continued for over two years.  Towards the end, she started a rubber band ball – adding rubber bands every time she came up to Fletcher Allen for treatment.  Today, that rubber band ball weighs five pounds, and Kathryn is celebrating the official end of her treatment.  Looking back, she remembers her caregivers -- Drs. Homans and Abajian (who entertained her with his magic tricks), Dr. First, the Baird 5 nursing staff, and the Child Life staff. She is also grateful to Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Sheara Billado, R.N., who convinced her to attend Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, a camp for kids who have or have had cancer.  Says Dr. Homans, "It takes a great group of dedicated people working behind the scenes to make treatments like Kathryn’s possible."