You’re my hero, Kayla

A Hero’s Markings – Surgery#1

Life is bumpy these days.

Yesterday, we walked out of Alberta Children’s Hospital with a lilt in our step and smiles of amazement.  Kayla was going home just 2 days after undergoing a second brain surgery.  And the first was only 3 weeks ago….remarkable!

I reiterated how remarkable her resiliency was.  How incredible it was to see her walking so proud and beautiful, with not one but both sides of her head marked with stitches and stapes.

She laughed, “oh mom, this wasn’t a big one like the last time”.  Seriously Kayla – this is brain surgery! :)

She has such an incredible attitude – instead of self-pity she carries a spirit of gratitude & higher-awareness in things we often take for granted.  “Freedom feels so good” she smiled, deeply breathing in the crisp winter air.  We have spent so much time in hospitals and medical settings lately.

There’s a calmness in her being – resolute, courageous and wise.  It’s astounding to watch.  As her dad & I have both said “You’re my hero, Kayla”

And now today, only one day later, we meet with Kayla’s oncologist for the first time and leave with paperwork for yet another Surgery …. #3 …. next Tuesday.  They want to take a larger margin around the first tumor’s location.   Is this really happening to us?

One wonders when this roller coaster will give us a smoother ride.

But she soldiers on with her head held high and a deeper character at 15 than many of us will ever achieve.   I am proud to journey with you, amazing Kayla.







About Shannon Duke

I'm Shannon Duke and I’ve combined my business skills with the wisdom that literally saved my life and have built a system that redefines success. Today I am passionate about helping you achieve life-fulfilling and life-enhancing success in both your business & personal life. Read My Story


  1. Cindy Winther says:

    Oh Kayla you are such an inspiration and a beautiful soul inside and out. May you sail through this last surgery with ease. And may God grant peace and health to all your family. It’s an honor to be journeying with you all.

  2. Candy Adam says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Kayla and your whole family. If Kayla has Eva as a nurse in ICU please give her a special hug from Bennett’s Grandma.

  3. Oh how we wish we were near by. Mark said she would be home for Christmas. That is fantastic. Kayla is handling brain surgery better that teens having to go to their orthodontic app. I know she has moments of complete disbelieve. I always struggle with how people have to go through the mirages of treatments when they really don’t even feel sick. It’s confusing. To say the least. By this time next week she will be home resting again. Getting ready to have a little break from all the medical appointments. We love you all

  4. Kayla,
    You are amazing! We will continue to lift you up to God’s throne of grace now and on next Tuesday.
    You could really encourage some of my patients on trauma. You truly are an inspiration.
    Love and prayers to you all,
    Mary Lou

  5. Mark Bowman says:

    No words can properly express our concern and support for what you guys are going through but you are going through it together with a lot strength and support from loved ones near and far, and will continue to be in our prayers.
    I’m not seeing any current specific needs posted on the care site, but I’m around more now if you need anything.

  6. Cindy Schaber says:

    Kayla. Courage and strength can not even begin to describe you. May God and all the prayers give you the strength love and light to endure this last surgery. Keeping healing prayers ongoing. Tons of love and light to you all.

  7. <3
    Admiration swells from me and I send my compassion to surround you all.

  8. Kayla & Shannon – march on soldiers….you both are an INSPIRATION to us all. Raiden and Malcolm are asking about you everyday Kayla…we are all praying for your quick healing. Love and best wishes this coming week.

  9. Every day you are both (along with Tyler) in my thoughts and prayers. I know this love from all your friends and colleagues heads over to you somehow through the universe and envelopes you in its warmth, helping you to seize every day with courage. Remember courage is not the absence of fear; it is just soldiering on in the face of it, knowing how much we all love you.

  10. michael weiss says:

    Good Job Kayla. Isaiah 4:31

  11. Praying that, with God’s help, next week the surgeon’s hands will fully remove the evil cancer which has caused so much physical and emotional trauma. Kayla, you are most certainly a rockstar! A beautiful young lady so full of strength and grace. Shannon, you are an amazing woman and mother…praying for your healing as well as for strength, peace and joy during this difficult “rollercoaster ride”. Sending hugs, prayers, light and love.

  12. Dearest Kayla, you are amazing beyond words and we are all in awe of the courage and strength you have dear one. Sending prayers of love and healing your way. God bless you and your family… Teresa

  13. Diana Izzotti. says:

    Such strength in a young woman is remarkable.
    The apple does not fall far from the tree.
    You’re an awesome Mom, Shannon.
    Sending you all love and light, and visualizing you held in caring arms and healed. xx

  14. Melody Williamson says:

    Kayla, you’re our hero, too!!! Tyler, we also know that you are having to be so strong while all of these surreal happenings go on around you!! Please know that we hold each of you and your parents in our thoughts every single day!!! You are not alone and we love you all sooooo much!!

    Melody, Ian, Morgan, and Keelan

  15. I can’t imagine how you are all coping with this. You obviously have an amazing inner strength but also draw from each other as you go through this journey together – a journey that no one should ever have to take. The spirit, positive attitude and determination that you each and collectively show is so inspiring. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers and will be through Tuesday and afterwards, as Kayla takes yet one more gigantic step. Bless all of you, the medical staff and your wonderful circle of friends.

  16. debbie zimmel says:

    Shannon, Kayla, Tyler and family,
    As I read through these messages words like amazing, incredible, courageous, and beautiful are mentioned over and over. You are truly a strength and inspiration to us all. Our thoughts are always with you, we will be praying for you on Tuesday. May God be with you for what I hope is your final surgery. Romans 8: 37 says: “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us”. You are a conqueror Kayla, and God’s love for you will shine on through your overwhelming journey. Much Love debbiexoxo

  17. The Stepan's says:

    Kayla & Shannon, it is unimanageable that you have to confront such a difficult illness at the same time and the aggressive treatments that are required. We know that you will maintain your courage and faith to overcome these obstacles. Our prayers are on overdrive for both of you.

  18. Aqua Grammy says:

    Kayla darling, I am with you tomorrow. Know that I love you. Aqua Grammy

  19. Kayla,
    Ten years ago you sat on my lap, a maturing young lady ready to disbelieve in Santa. I told you how proud i was of you to be so captivated by the original masterpieces you saw in person at the Louvre. You told your Mom that Santa must be magic for knowing that little detail about you. Well, now we know YOU are magic for loving life so very much and I know you will use every ounce of that love as you face the future. Our prayers and loving spirit will be with You, your Mom, Tyler and your Dad. Go get ‘em tiger!

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