Kristion Kim is just like any junior in high school.
He likes to hang out with his friends and he’s passionate about playing football at Tualatin High School. Like most Oregon residents, Kristion also has his favorite state team too, the Oregon State Beavers.
But unlike kids his age, Kristion suffers from a rare form of cancer known as retroperitoneal liposarcoma, a tumor that arises from fat tissue and often occurs in the thigh, legs, behind the knees, or in the abdomen. He is the fifth adolescent to be diagnosed with this type of cancer.
His mom, Staci, a single mother of nine children, knew something was wrong when Kristion unexpectedly started losing weight. A lot of weight. After urging doctors to do scans of his stomach, an ultrasound revealed a large mass. His family got the devastating phone call no parent wants to hear.
“The surgeon who called us said there is no child on record who has had this type of cancer before. It’s only seen in adults,” Kristion’s mom wrote on the Kristion Tackles Cancer Facebook Page.
In Feb. 2019, Kristion underwent a 14-hour surgery to remove the 25-pound tumor. He returned to school, started weight lifting and began playing football again. But in September 2020, the doctors called after a routine scan found the growth had returned again 20 months later.
“The brave warrior has another battle coming up,” his Facebook page says.
When the Oregon State football team caught word of Kristion’s battle, they knew they needed to act. That’s when they surprised Kristion a few weeks before his 17th birthday with Beavers gear and a signed card from all of his favorite Oregon State players.
“Times may be tough but so are YOU! Beaver Football is rooting for you,” the card said.
“That really does mean a lot,” Kristion said in the video on the Kristion Tackles Cancer Facebook page. “I really appreciate it.”
Kristion’s hard-fought battle with cancer is far from over, but sometimes it’s the little things that truly make a difference. You can learn more about Kristion’s story and help him tackle cancer by supporting future treatments on his GoFundMe.