School Community Rallies Around Student with Wilms’ Tumor

Cyndi Strzynski was always a bubbly, active little girl. Even though she has been facing an immense challenge, she still tries to keep a smile on her face at all times. As shared by Eagle Country Online, the first grade student was recently diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare form of childhood kidney cancer that is also referred to as nephroblastoma. 

Unfortunately, her cancer has metastasized (spread) from her kidneys to her lungs; Cyndi also had to undergo kidney removal, as well as continued chemotherapy and radiation. Her treatments last for eight hours or more, leaving the girl exhausted. 

Despite these struggles, Cyndi and her family find comfort in the local Indiana community that has rallied behind them in support. On February 14, 2023, Aurora Elementary School—where Cyndi attends—held a special themed day called “Hats Off to Cyndi.” The school shared information about different conditions that may cause hair loss; through this, the school hoped to raise awareness and educate students. 

On “Hats Off to Cyndi” day, each classroom took a photo to send to Cyndi, created cards for her, and collected donations in her honor. The teachers at the school have also created a Meal Train to support the family and ensure that they have the help and resources needed during this journey. 

Wilms’ Tumor: An Overview

As described above, Wilms’ tumor may also be referred to as nephroblastoma; while this cancer is rare, it is also the most common form of kidney cancer in children. While it can affect both kidneys, it most commonly occurs in one. Wilms’ tumor predominantly affects children under five years old, with the risk significantly decreasing with age. Doctors are unclear of the exact cause of Wilms’ tumor, though risk factors have been identified: a family history of this cancer, aniridia, hemihypertrophy, certain rare diseases such as Beckwith-Wiedmann syndrome, and being of African-American descent. Symptoms can include:

  • Constipation
  • A mass in the abdomen that you can feel
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Appetite loss
  • Fever with no known cause
  • Frequent or recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) 
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment options for Wilms’ tumors include surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. Surgery is usually the first step in treatment.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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