6-year-old cheerleader fighting cancer, inspiring others with her battle

Kassidy Carter is 6 years old and battling cancer. She has 31 weeks of chemotherapy down and more ahead.

"She is our hero, she is tough, she is the bravest person I know," said Melissa Koyl, her mother. "Hopefully we will be done with chemo by Christmas," said Melissa Koyl, her mother.

Kassidy has physical therapy three times a week with Children's Hospital of Michigan but you won't hear any complaints from her. She says it's fun, in fact. 

Last fall Kassidy was a cheerleader with the Anchor Bay Buccaneers youth squad in St. Clair County. 

"Everything started around Thanksgiving when she fell down our stairs," her mother said. "Just the last couple of our stairs, she slipped."

She wouldn't heal. Two months later doctors found a 14-centimeter-long tumor in the soft tissue behind her bladder: stage 3 cancer. 

"They immediately brought us downtown and put us in the PIKU and that's the first time I heard the word cancer," she said.

Since then, Children's Hospital of Michigan is home away from home for the family. With surgery behind them, overnight chemo once a week, Kassidy is still mostly confined to a wheelchair.

"She has a shear iron will," said Katherine Philliben. "I have never seen anyone so happy in the face of adversity. She teaches us a lot about real strength." 

Philliben, her cheer coach, is one of Kassidy's biggest cheerleaders.

"It's a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. How could this happen to someone so wonderful," she said. 

The cost of her healthcare is rising. So the youth cheer and football teams dedicating Saturday's game at Anchor Bay High School to Kassidy with a fundraiser to help the family. Kassidy will even perform. 

Her shirt says it all - "Hey Cancer, you picked the wrong kid. Kassidy Strong." 

We can't give it away, but the nonprofit the Rainbow Connection has a big surprise for Kassidy. If you want to go to the fundraiser, you can get more information on that here. 

If you'd like to make a donation to the family via their GoFundMe account, click here