Keira's cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, did not respond well to clinical trial, but the 9-year-old has a new treatment protocol and a lot of friends. One of them has big plans for her Saturday at her favorite restaurant, O’Charley’s in O’Fallon.
It’s a friendship that started long before Keira got sick, when she was the girl with the flowing red hair who stole worker Regina “Reggie” Jenkins’ heart.
“[Keira] she lost the backing off her earring,” Keira’s dad, Dave Stout, said of that visit.
“I went into the back and took (the) backs off my earrings and brought them out to her and gave them to her,” Reggie said.
“It just kind of snowballed from there. And then we came in one day and told her what was going on and she was like, ‘Oh, we’ve got to do something for you guys,’” Dave Stout said.
From the high of Buck holding up Keira’s name to the low of cancer relapse, the Reggie-Keira partnership endures. Reggie organized a pancake breakfast at O’Charley’s for Keira on Saturday, September 24.
“I’m very excited about my pancake breakfast tomorrow,” Keira said. “It’s out here in O’Fallon, MO, at O’Charley’s. You should come.”
About a dozen members of the Stars Wars 501st Legion, 70th Explorers Stormtroopers Garrison, are coming in full costume. It turns out even Darth Vader has a soft spot for Keira.
“It kind of warms up my heart. She’s going through a tough time. As young as she is, she had to grow up really quick,” said John Franciso, who plays the role of Darth Vader.
“She’s a fighter. She’s not letting it get her down. She’s more worried about other people than herself,” said Stormtrooper Andy Bauer.
She’s a lot like her friends at O’Charley’s.
The pancake breakfast is from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday at the O’Charley’s located at 2204 Highway K.
There are also #KeiraStrong bracelets and t-shirts if you want to donate. Proceeds will go to a trust fund to help with Keira's medical care.