9-year-old with leukemia: 'Oh Mom, it's just hair. It'll grow back'

Kimora Denkins takes cancer in stride

HOUSTON – Kimora Denkins is tough, on and off the court. But this 9-year-old’s grit was truly put to the test when she felt the flu coming on last December and went to a doctor.
“When I told him I had chest pain, he said, ‘Go to Texas Children’s (Hospital),’” Kimora said. “And then they found out I had leukemia en masse, and that night I had to spend the night -- for a long time.”

Chemotherapy, blood transfusions and hydration followed.

“She kept a smile on her face through the whole thing, through the entire time,” said Kendra Denkins, Kimora’s mother.

Kimora discovered a love for Legos in the hospital.

As for side effects, “When I try to explain to her about (her) hair, (like) ‘You may lose hair,’ she’s like, ‘Oh Mom, it’s just hair. It’ll grow back. It’s OK,’” Kendra Denkins said. “It’s almost like she’s comforting me when I’m supposed to be the one doing the comforting.”

Kimora’s leukemia is in remission now, but she will continue chemo treatments through 2018. Outside of her hospital stays, she’s back to life as any other kid.

But Kimora is thinking long-term, too.

“My mom is a nurse and now that I’ve been going through this, I’ve seen what they do and I want to be one,” Kimora said.

She’s an inspiring child with a loving mom.
“We can get through it if we stay strong and do the things we need to do and stick together,” Kendra Denkins said. “There’s no way we can’t get through it.”

Sticking right with them are Kimora's friends and teachers at her school, Rosa Parks Elementary in Fresno.  Because Kimora receives regular blood transfusions, the school is sponsoring a blood drive through the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Bank.  It runs from noon to 6 p.m. Monday at the school. 

Also remember: Eric Braate is competing in the 2017 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To learn more and to donate, go here