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Those Twins Saved My Life 

Khristian Moffett dancing Photo Credit

When Khristian Moffett was 14 years old, she had this strange thing happen to her. 

She woke up one day and realized she couldn’t hear, especially out of her left ear. When she looked in the mirror, she looked different. The left side of her face was swollen. The swelling eventually turned into a bump.  

Immediately Moffett said she and her family went to the doctors where they were sent to multiple different specialists. “The Medical Mystery of Syracuse”, was a term doctors used to describe Moffett because of the difficulty they faced determining what was wrong. 

Although it took many tests and a lot of time, the specialists determined that Moffett’s ‘bump’, was actually a mass.   

“The doctors went in and tried to remove it but were unsuccessful. I had to have another surgery because it grew back two times the size. It was like the size of a golf ball in my face,” Moffett said.   

After the second surgery the doctors declared the mass as a cancerous tumor. 

The doctors ruled it as carcinoma/head and neck cancer. Moffett’s cancer was specifically attacking her sinus cavity.  

This type of cancer is extremely rare for young children, but especially for females. Moffett says she then had to go through more appointments and more tests. 

“Doctors said they couldn’t remove it this time. I think there wasn’t enough liquid to remove it or something. I ended up going on a small dose of chemotherapy,” said Moffett. 

Moffett tried the chemotherapy for a little while, but immediately started to see rashes appear all over her body. 

“We didn’t know at first where the rashes were coming from. We thought maybe from laundry detergent on like my sheets and stuff. But the doctors were like no, that’s a sign that your body’s trying to reject the chemo through your skin,” Moffett said.  

 Moffett said they were essentially told nothing seemed to be working. This was something she and her family had to learn to live with for a while.  

Khristian Moffett in the hospital Photo Credit: Khristian Moffett

“I was 14, I was diagnosed with cancer, and I was really sick. At the same time, my dad lost his job and that’s the money we were relying on. We started losing a lot of the structure of what a family should have,” said Moffett.  

Their family was struggling but through it were brought closer together. At the end of the day, they realized they only had each other.  

“I grew up the youngest of four kids. I am told that I’m the glue of the family because I’m close with everyone in a different way. We’re all close but my sister and I both dance. She’s actually the reason I got into dance. I wanted to be just like her,” Moffett said.  

Moffett says her family is extremely sport oriented and found it funny because she never was into sports. She was always a dancer.  

Moffett said dance is what helped her cope while she was ill, “Physically I felt so sick, I couldn’t move. But the one thing that got me through was dancing. When I danced, I would enter a whole new world where nothing bad was happening. There was like a point where the doctors were like, you can’t really dance, but I still would.” 

Moffett’s body continued to reject the chemotherapy. The doctors called Moffett’s mother and said something no family ever wants to hear. They said if this keeps happening there was nothing they could do. Moffett says her mother was in a state of denial. 

“I didn’t really know what was going on. My mom also like didn’t even tell me I was sick. I found out because I had to use her laptop for a homework assignment and I saw that the cancer was looked up, and it was all my symptoms. So that’s how I found out,” Moffett said.  

Moffett says even when she was told nothing was working, she never lost hope. 

And then the biggest blessing happened. 

Moffett’s family received a phone call stating a set of twins born at a nearby hospital had donated their umbilical cord. A cord that contained the same blood cells Moffett needed to receive a stem cell transplant.  

Moffett says she didn’t know it at the time, but a stem cell transplant was her only hope. 

“Those twins saved my life,” Moffett said.   

The stem cell transplant was a success and shortly after Moffett was told she was in remission. Moffett will be five years cancer free this November 22nd.   

When donating, donors have the option to meet the recipient, but Moffett never did. 

“They didn’t want me to meet them. From what my mom has told me, they kind of knew the situation. There was a young girl that needed stem cells. They knew my story, but I never got to meet them. I think about them. I pray to them. I hope that they’re okay,” said Moffett. 

Moffett says she shares a special connection to the twins even though they never met. She says they gave her and her family the biggest blessing. Every year when the anniversary of Moffett’s remission comes around, she says her family prays to them and thinks about them.  

“We like to celebrate them because they essentially saved my life,” said Moffett.  

Moffett started to slowly recover and says over time started to feel like her old self.  

“I would just dance all the time, like in my room. It was such a blessing. It was like, oh my gosh, I can do something without feeling sick,” Moffett said.  

Khristian Moffett dancing Photo Credit: Anotnina Tortorello

But learning how to navigate the world after fighting cancer didn’t come easy. Her time alone while she was sick made her forget what it was like to be around people. As a result, she developed social anxiety.   

“When I was sick, I couldn’t really have a social life. All of the sudden, I was around people again and I wasn’t sick anymore. People remembered me for being sick, so I got really bad anxiety from that,” says Moffett.  

Somedays are hard she said but tries to look at every day as a new adventure. She says she doesn’t like to have a lot of people around her now and likes to surround herself with ’close, really good’ people.  

“I was told my life was going to be taken away from me. So, I look at things differently now. I value people, I value life. I value the little things like friendship and the people around me,” Moffett said.  

Now 19 years old, Moffett attends SUNY Brockport where she expands on her passion by studying dance. Moffett is a member of the Brockport Dance Team and Student Dance Organization. She says these clubs and the people involved in them make her feel at home and have given her lifelong memories. 

Moffett says what she went through now gives her a greater understanding of life. A different perspective. She says you can never know what someone else may be going through so give others grace.  

“Whenever I think someone looks beautiful, I say it.  I don’t keep that stuff inside because it could change someone’s day or their life or the person they are. I just think you should be kind to people and yourself too, because you’ve gone through a lot, everyone does,” Moffett said. 

Moffett says her sickness doesn’t define the person she is today. In fact, it’s only made her stronger.  

A person full of beauty, light and gratitude as described by the people around her. “The kindest human you’ll ever meet,” her close friend said. Moffett continues to live every day to the fullest and graces everyone she meets with a big warm smile.  

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