Strong Kids

Girl fights cancer with a lot of spirit

Sep. 9, 2015

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This year, 16,000 children and teens will be diagnosed with cancer in the United States. 175,000 children will be diagnosed worldwide. Childhood cancer is one of the seven priority programs of Golisano Children's Hospital's current campaign. Your support could help a child like Koriemae Spirito. 


Koriemae “Korie” Spirito started having headaches at 9 years old. Knowing that migraines ran in their family, her mom Jennifer Rivera thought nothing of it, really. As a precaution, Jenn brought Korie to her pediatrician at Westfall Pediatrics where they told her to keep a headache log. The headaches then became more frequent, starting earlier and earlier in the day. Korie would also complain of being cold and her family noticed her energy level was considerably lower.

While back at Westfall Pediatrics for a follow up, the pediatrician noticed Korie had a yellowish hue, spotted bruising and several popped blood vessels. The doctor’s office ran several blood tests and told the Spiritos they would give them a call when they had the results.

That evening – after Korie and her family finished a shopping trip to the mall – there was a message on Jenn’s voicemail that Korie’s white cell blood counts were high and it was very likely that she had leukemia.

Korie’s family rushed to UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Room where Korie underwent more testing, which confirmed the diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).