San Diego

‘Warrior Princess' Battles Through Chemotherapy, Fights Off Leukemia

Cate Kingston's parents call her the Warrior Princess.

Cate Kingston's parents call her the Warrior Princess. 

Watching the first grader run around the playground this November is a little like watching a Christmas past, her parents say. That's because, Kingston's parent's say, up until a little over a year ago, she had as much energy as ever. 

That was part of the reason it was easy for them to see when something was wrong, they said. 

"She would say, I'm tired, and sit down," her father, Brian, said. 

"She would have a couple episodes of night sweats. She wouldn't be able to move her arms or her legs," her mom, Stephanie, recalled. "So, automatically you're thinking that something is very, very wrong."

The blood tests confirmed what no parent wants to imagine. Cate was diagnosed with Leukemia. 

"You're devastated," Stephanie said. "It's just the most paralyzing feeling I've ever felt."

She lost her hair and her entire year of kindergarten.

"It made me feel sad a little," Cate said. "It kinda hurted a little when I kinda brushed it a little, my hair."

Cate has been through seven in-patient stays and she will be going on her 35th round of chemotherapy soon. They are on day 470.

While it's a grueling time that any adult patient would have a hard time handling, Cate's parents say she is no ordinary patient.

"She understands. She knows what's going on and she couldn't be a better patient," her father said. 

"I think just innately she has a resilient spirit. I don't think even we knew how strong her will could be until this happened," Stephanie said. 

They call her their warrior princess, and credit the staff at Rady Children's hospital as being her soldiers in this battle.

The family says they are so grateful for the treatment they have received.

"To have strolling musicians come into your room, or therapy dogs, I mean the therapy dogs are huge," Stephanie said. "Cate is especially close to our dog, Sam."

While there's still almost a year of chemotherapy left, some days, life is starting to look a little like it used to.

"Well, I don't have to wear a hat that much. I don't like wearing hats that much," Cate said.

Her hair is back, and her spirit never left.

"We're just incredibly blessed that she's as tough as she is, incredibly proud of her," Stephanie said. 

Cate and her family will be at Liberty Station Wednesday night for the Fantasy on Ice tree lighting.

The event starts at 5 p.m. and the tree will be lit at 6 p.m. All of the proceeds to benefit Rady Children's Hospital.

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