ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Since Kailey Paul could walk, she’s been riding horses. The 14-year-old Rensselaer County girl trains and competes in equestrian events all over the country. All of that came to a screeching halt in August of 2022, when she started experiencing severe headaches, fatigue and neck pain. The doctor sent her in for an MRI, and the results nearly brought Kailey and her parents to their knees. There was a large tumor where the spine connects to the brain, and it was cancer.

Kailey jumps a horse over a barrier
Kailey jumping a horse during practice.

“When she first got diagnosed, it was like a punch to the face,” according to her mother, Donna Cole Paul. She added, “Everything stops and all you can think about is her getting better.”

They acted quickly with emergency surgery followed by an aggressive regiment of chemotherapy and proton radiation treatments, both in Albany and at a hospital in New York City.

Kailey tells NEWS10, “I have to be honest, it’s hard. It’s a tough treatment.”

Making matters worse was what the cancer treatments took away. As Kailey puts it, “You don’t realize how much you love your hair until you don’t have it anymore.”

Kailey turned to a special salon in Manhattan, Andrew DiSimone, to see if they could make her a wig. As luck turned out, a woman donated a $6,000 woman’s wig, only hours before Kailey’s appointment.

Kailey before going to the Spring Military Ball at LaSalle.
Kailey before going to the Spring Military Ball at LaSalle.

“It was unreal that this happened. The wig was the exact style, cut, color, everything and it fit me perfectly,” Kailey added.

She wore the perfect new hair to the spring military ball at LaSalle in Troy, where Kailey attends school. After the big dance, Kailey was back at Albany Med getting treatments when nurses saw her heating something up in the microwave. It wasn’t food, it was a little stuffed animal called a “warmie.”  A “warmie” is a special animal that you can warm up and then hold when you are cold or afraid.

The nurses had never seen one before and seemed amazed. This gave Kailey an idea. She wanted every child at the children’s hospital in Albany to have their very own “warmie.”

Kailey shows off the donation of "warmies" sent to her house.
Kailey shows off the donation of “warmies” sent to her house.

Kailey’s mom set up an Amazon wish list on Facebook and in less than two days people purchased 200 warmies that Kailey could share. Kailey was stunned, “It’s just amazing so many caring people wanted to help and do that. I just couldn’t believe it and so fast.”

Kailey delivered the “warmies” to the hospital herself and when the company that makes “warmies” got wind of what this little girl in Upstate New York was doing, they donated another 200, shipping them to Kailey’s house. What shocked all of us at NEWS10 is how a young lady battling cancer is thinking about helping everyone else. Kailey described her act of kindness this way.

“I just wanted to bring a little light into the world.”

 Trust us Kailey, you most certainly did.