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Cough leads to cancer diagnosis for Minn. toddler

On Sunday, Dec. 17, Kaidence Sletto of Brandon was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-ALL, which is an acute type of leukemia. (Contributed)1 / 3
Kaidence was placed in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator due to a mass on her chest that had been pushing on her lung, restricting her breathing. (Contributed)2 / 3
Two-year-old Kaidence Sletto, daughter of Adrianna and Kyle Sletto of Brandon, was diagnosed with an acute form of leukemia on Sunday, Dec. 17. She was placed in a medically induced coma and on a ventilator due to a mass on her chest that had been pushing on her lung, restricting her breathing. (Contributed)3 / 3

BRANDON, Minn. — When Adrianna Sletto realized her 2-year-old daughter Kaidence seemed to be under the weather in early December, she took her to the doctor. She was told it was a virus and was sent home.

In the next few days, Kaidence's fever began to drop and she started feeling better. But over the following weeks, her cough continued.

Then Sletto noticed swollen glands in the back of her daughter's neck. Knowing that could be a sign of strep throat, Sletto brought her daughter back into the clinic on Dec. 17.

"They ran a strep test and that was negative," she said. "So they ran some blood tests. ... Her white blood cell count was 600,000 and normal for her age is between 5,000 and 12,000."

The Slettos, who live in Brandon, were sent to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.

There, doctors diagnosed Kaidence with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as T-ALL. T-ALL is an acute type of leukemia, which means it is aggressive and progresses quickly. It affects the system in the body which produces stem cells, especially a type of white blood cell called T lymphocytes.

Doctors also found a mass in her chest that was pushing on her left lung, causing it to partially collapse. Because of this, Kaidence was placed in a medically induced coma and put on a ventilator to help her breathe. Chemotherapy was started at this point.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, she was taken out of the induced coma. Adrianna Sletto says the cancer is curable, but it will be a long road for her family. In addition to Kaidence, she and her husband, Kyle, have a 5-year-old and a baby on the way.

The Slettos will be driving from Brandon to Minneapolis most weeks for treatment.

"They said to plan for two-and-a-half to three years (of treatment) as long as everything goes well and we can keep the cancer away," Sletto said. "That's kind of our game plan."

"People have been very helpful," she said. "We've gotten lots of support and prayers, we're thankful for all of it."

A GoFundMe account for the Sletto family has been set up and can be accessed at In addition, a March 3 benefit for the family at the Alexandria VFW.

Family friend Alicia DeMartelaere is organizing the benefit.

"We picked March 3 so that Kaidence can get better and hopefully be at the benefit," she said.

DeMartelaere has a child with an ongoing illness and says the Slettos have always been supportive.

"We know what it's like, we know it's difficult, we know it takes a lot out of you," she said. "It tugs on your heart and that's one of the main reasons we decided to do it (the benefit)."

To donate an item for the silent auction, contact DeMartelaere at 320-491-4709.

More information can be found on the Kaidence Strong Benefit And Silent Auction page on Facebook.

Beth Leipholtz

Beth is a reporter at the Echo Press. She graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May 2015 with a degree in Communication and Hispanic Studies. Journalism has always been her passion, but she also enjoys blogging and graphic design. In her spare time, she's most likely at Crossfit or at home with her boyfriend and three dogs.

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