LATHROP, MO. (Fox4KC)— 12 year-old Brittany Kistner was diagnosed with leukemia in November 2014, ending up at Children's Mercy Hospital while in the beginning stages of two years of treatment.
“I have acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It’s leukemia in my blood,” explained Brittany. Her mother, Jennifer Vaughn, describes her as "one of the bravest people" she knows, but about a week ago, Brittany stopped eating and her mom said that it seemed like "she'd given up."
Doctors were concerned enough to put in a feeding tube, which ensured her body got the nutrition she needed, but Brittany's spirits were still down. But then, a group of visitors filed in and changed Brittany's mood.
A friend of Vaughn’s is married to a member of KCPD's Tactical Team. She had read posts about Brittany on Facebook and wanted to send a care package, but didn’t mention who would be delivering it.
“I looked over and I see all these men filing in, and I’m like, ‘I didn’t do nothing,'” said Brittany.
“At first it was a little scary, and then I felt good to know these men took time to just come boost her spirits,” said Vaughn.
In the package was a challenge coin, often traded and collected by officers. They mean different things to different people, but to this 12-year-old, it’s a symbol of hope and strength, and within the week, Brittany has been doing much better.
“I said that coin is the reason why I got to go home, my lucky coin I take everywhere I go,” said Brittany.
Brittany’s mom feels the same way, that’s why she took a picture and shared it on Facebook and with the police department. The visit showed a different side to the officers, one of compassion and caring, one Vaughn says not too many people get to or care to see.
“It was kind of emotional because you could tell by looking at some of them, it was all they could do to not shed a tear,” said Vaughn.