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Carly King Tribute Fund


Type: Adamantinoma

Location: Tibia

Diagnosed: 2010

Carly King was diagnosed in 2010 at 9 years old after she bumped and bruised her shin and it never got better. What the doctors found was supposed to be a benign tumor that would get scraped out and replaced with a bone graph. During surgery, Dr. Chappie decided it was not what they originally thought, took a biopsy, and sewed her up.  He told us the tentative plan of replacing her entire tibia if it was what he assumed it to be, adamantinoma, a malignant tumor. He said surgery was the only treatment and the tumor would not


respond to chemo or radiation. The next week was the most excruciating week of our lives. Waiting for the results of the biopsy was unbearable, every scenario played out in my head. Time stood still. Then we got the call, and Chappie was 100% right, Carly needed major surgery to remove her tibia and tumor.

The surgery went as intended and within 2 months Carly was bearing weight again and after 4 months was back on the court playing volleyball and softball. She played with a big plastic Sarmiento brace that went under her foot and had to wear a larger shoe on that foot. Her body began to grow bone and heal to the cadaver bone and she healed like no other.

This tumor was only known to travel to the lungs and after her first scan, they watched a very small spot that grew slowly. After a year at the age of 10, she had a laparoscopic surgery to remove it and a small part of her lung. In one week, she was playing basketball again.

Carly played sports all through school, barrel-raced horses, and graduated top 3 of her high school class, while also graduating from community college with her AA. She also worked as a barista, waitress, and nursing assistant while working her way to get into nursing school. Growing up with many trips to the hospital, Carly wanted to become a nurse to help others just as many nurses had helped her.  During COVID she went to work with her dad at our family construction business where she operated excavator, roller, and drove a dump truck.

Over the years scans of her lungs continued and more spots showed up.  In 2020 she had a major surgery through her ribs to have a bigger tumor removed. The surgery went fine and she continued with her plans. She purchased a 40’ camper to live in and then worked as a medical surgical assistant at Pacific Cataract and Laser Institute often traveling by private plane to work. Carly dreamt of having her own coffee shop and was purchasing her first shop in 2021 before mobility became an issue.

Then in the summer of 2021, Carly fell and could not get up. Scans in the emergency room of her back found spots in her spine and subsequent scans would find tumors in her sternum, skull, liver, hips, and kidney. There was one case study of Adamantinoma that had a partial response to a chemo-like pill. Carly took this pill once a day for 3 months, but after that time all the spots had grown. As a last resort to treatment, she was eligible for a T-cell trial that she underwent. We had to move to Seattle right next to the hospital for a month. She had a good response to it, but the cells did not last long in her system to continue to fight the cancer. 

The pain got worse as the days went on. Carly was given 10 days of radiation to 3 spots to lessen the pain in her back. But consequently, the tumors in her spine swelled from the radiation and eventually paralyzed her from the waist down. She was given radiation again to different spots, and the pain was so bad, that she had to be inpatient and transported by ambulance to the hospital for the radiation sessions. She again had radiation to 3 different spots to help with pain while dealing with more swelling of the tumor and more loss of movement.

In 2023, her brain tumor took over and her brain eventually gave up. She had brain surgery on July 12th (her 22nd birthday) to remove the tumor but Carly passed away on July 19th.

Through all of this, Carly approached life as an opportunity to love, to have fun, to learn, to help others, and to share.  She was full of positivity and generosity and she encouraged everyone around her. She lived big and gave more. Carly took the time to get to know people and their story. If she could help you, she would.

Carly also enjoyed cooking and when you asked her “how much seasoning did you put in this, she’d always say “I measured with my heart”. What Carly experienced and achieved in her life was extraordinary and was possible because she never let anything in her life hold her back. I, her mom, would like to urge all of you to continue her legacy and when you do all things in your life, please measure them with your heart.

We are supporting the NW Sarcoma Foundation to help fund research for these rare cancers with limited treatment options. And to help those needing a little extra support during an extremely difficult time.

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