In 2013, Walt Disney Pictures released Frozen into theaters. The world has never been the same. Though Zootopia went on to beat Frozen‘s box office and become the highest-grossing animated film of all time, nothing has come close to the cultural impact of Frozen. It’s no secret that kids of all ages adore the movie, but how many can credit it with helping them beat cancer?
Well, two-year-old Fort Worth, Texas resident Kennedy Coke can. Last December, Kennedy had a mass removed from one of her lungs. It was then that doctors discovered she actually had a rare form of pediatric cancer.
A Terrifying Diagnosis
Kennedy’s mother Jodi Coke talked about the moment doctors revealed the diagnosis to her. “The doctor said preliminarily it’s looking like it’s going to be that Pleuropulmonary Blastoma,” she said.
Pleuropulmonary Blastoma or PPB is a rare cancer most often found in infants or small children. Symptoms include coughing, an upper respiratory tract infection, shortness of breath, and chest pain. A biopsy is required to test for PPB. The most common treatment is surgical removal of the tumor. If the tumor is too large, chemotherapy may be required before surgery.
Chemotherapy is indeed the treatment prescribed for young Kennedy. Though it is often the best treatment for fighting cancer, chemotherapy is an incredibly difficult process. There are a lot of pains and stresses involved, both physical and emotional. It can be a lot for the strongest adult to endure, not to mention a young child.
Queen Elsa to the Rescue
It was around that time that Kennedy discovered the movie Frozen. Her father, Wes Coke, says, “She said in bed and watched it, just mesmerized.”
She fell in love with the movie and Queen Elsa became her hero. She eventually watched Frozen over 40 times!
Kennedy began to dress like Elsa and emulate her behavior from the movie. She even convinced herself that she was the real royalty in this story: Princess Kennedy.
Went she came to Cook Children’s Medical Center for her chemotherapy sessions, she always wore her Elsa dress or hat. Staff and other visitors came to call her “Elsa.” She also got a Frozen castle makeover for her bedroom at home.
Kennedy’s father, Wes Coke, says her obsession with Frozen helped distract her from the struggles of chemotherapy. “As far as I’m concerned, it got her through,” he said.
Princess Kennedy Learns to ‘Let it Go’
According to her family, Kennedy was recently given a clean bill of health by doctors. She recently had her port removed, as well.
PPB does have a history of recurrence, though. Doctors recommend regular screenings for 48 to 60 months after the initial diagnosis.
As we all know, the most famous part of Frozen is Elsa’s power-ballad anthem, “Let It Go.” Not surprisingly, it’s also little Kennedy’s favorite song. Her family says the song has taken on new meaning for them. It’s come to represent Kennedy’s fight and eventual victory over cancer.
As Kennedy’s mother, Jodi, said, “Let it go…it certainly puts everything into perspective.”