Native household seems to be to group for help for little one battling most cancers
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – Family members describe 4-year-old Khloe “Peaches” Abdelbaqi-Graves as compassionate, strong and caring with a “smile that will melt anyone’s heart.”
Grandma Janel LaRock said like most little girls her age, Peaches loves princesses, unicorns, mermaids, glitter and loves to color and paint.
“She loves helping take care of her new baby sister, Amani, and helping mom and grandma cook,” she said. “She also loves cuddling with her papa.”
However, the villain in this pint-sized preschooler fairytale is stage 4 Neuroblastoma cancer.
“She reassures us she is brave and strong and asks to get better every day,” LaRock said.
After being told at multiple doctor appointments the limping Peaches was experiencing for about six months was due to growing pains, mom, Hayley DeGrave, said she knew something wasn’t right.
“Hayley told the doctor they were wrong, and she wasn’t leaving until they figured out what was wrong,” LaRock said. “The next day she was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer.”
She was diagnosed with cancer right before Christmas last year.
Since then, LaRock said Peaches has completed five rounds of chemotherapy.
Now, instead of getting ready for summer vacation and playing outside, Peaches will undergo eight more rounds of chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, radiation and immunotherapy at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee.
LaRock said it is all overwhelming.
“This round of treatment is intense chemo and bone marrow transplant,” LaRock said. “They need to kill her immune system and rebuild it. It’s very dangerous and has very serious side effects.”
Through it all, LaRock said Peaches has remained their brave little girl.
“Several times when she has been suffering, she would tell us she’s ok and will do whatever it takes to get better,” she said. “She is our warrior princess.”
LaRock said the way DeGrave describes the hard truths of the disease she is fighting to Peaches, and how she holds things together through it all, is “just amazing.”
“Peaches has the very best mom in the whole world,” she said. “She handles all of this with a strength I marvel at. She is strong and compassionate. Peaches also has the best big brother, Kahlead Jr., in the world. He takes on more than any six-year-old should, to help his mom and both his sisters. He definitely deserves a mention because he, too, is amazing and beautiful.”
In anticipation of the rough road ahead, Peaches’ family has looked to the community for support.
LaRock decided to organize a drive – reaching out on Facebook asking the Green Bay community for cards, notes, pictures – anything to put a smile on the brave 4-year-old’s face during her next round of treatment.
“We’ve gotten a great response from people telling us they will send her encouraging words,” LaRock said. “Lots of people have said they will have their kids send pictures, too. I think it will be very well received by Peaches. She is a very caring, compassionate little girl and will appreciate each and every one of them. I think fighting this ugly disease has to be exhausting, and I think this will remind her to keep fighting and never give up.”
Anyone wanted to send support can send it to:
Ronald McDonald House
c/o Peaches (Room 109)
8948 Watertown Plank Rd
Wauwatosa, WI 53226
Ways to help
A Go Fund Me page is set up for Peaches and can be found by searching Help Peaches Kick Cancer.
“Even a small donation could help,” LaRock said. “And if you can’t make a donation, it would be great if you could share the fundraiser to help spread the word.”
A benefit for Peaches is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, at Replay Bar and Grill in De Pere.
The event will include volleyball, corn hole and horseshoe tournaments, as well as food and a 50/50 raffle.
There is also a benefit ride being put on by the Heathens Motorcycle Club of Green Bay Saturday, July 16.
Kickstands go up at noon and will return to the Clubhouse at 5 pm for food, beverages and a 50/50 raffle.
The cost is $15 per rider.
More information can be found on Facebook.
All proceeds from both events go toward Peaches’ treatments.