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Why I Walk: NF Hero Kaiden and his mom Lakeisha

11-year old Kaiden, his mother Lakeisha, and their friends and family gather each year to participate in the Children’s Tumor Foundation Shine a Light NF Walk. Here’s why:

“When Kaiden was 3, he began to complain about his foot being sore whenever he wore shoes,” remembered Lakeisha. “After going to several podiatrists and specialists to rectify what we thought were flat feet, a young intern mentioned NF to us.”

Kaiden’s family waited a year and a half for an opening at their local hospital’s genetic testing lab before they were able to diagnose Kaiden with NF1.

After Kaiden was diagnosed, his family immersed themselves in Children’s Tumor Foundation events and symposiums. “We realized our son had an illness and information was not easily accessible. CTF became our “go-to” platform for all things NF,” said Lakeisha.

“I walk each year, because Kaiden’s story is not unusual or unique, however, there are so few Black families represented by and through NF research, websites, and trials. The Children’s Tumor Foundation provides a platform for our family to represent the research conducted by CTF and bring awareness to the varying side effects of this disease. We also want people to understand that having NF doesn’t define you, rather it is detail that contributes to who you are. Kaiden has NF, but he is also, funny, talented, caring, and thoughtful.” 

“Having NF does not impact Kaiden’s ability to make friends, however, his amputation as a result of his NF makes him uncomfortable in certain social situations,” said Lakeisha. “Pool parties, skating events and other kid friendly activities are always met with great consideration.”

“I wrote Kaiden The Great and the Sinister Lunch Lady because I realized there weren’t any books about children with physical disabilities, and even more importantly, none of the children represented were people of color. Kaiden The Great and the Sinister Lunch Lady highlights the hero, Kaiden, who happens to be the first physically disabled child protagonist of color.

For more information about the Shine a Light NF Walks and to find an event in your city, please visit