9-year-old battling brain cancer takes center stage at annual fundraiser in Manhattan

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ByLucy Yang via WABC logo
Tuesday, October 4, 2022
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A remarkable little boy battling a dangerous illness put his talent with the keys on full display at the Ronald McDonald House annual fundraiser in New York. Lucy Yang has more.

CHELSEA PIERS, Manhattan (WABC) -- A remarkable little boy battling a dangerous illness put his talent with the keys on full display at the Ronald McDonald House annual fundraiser in New York.

There's so much to applaud about 9-year-old Kai Brown Coley. He composed two of the pieces in Monday night's performance.

His passion pours out from his fingertips, but his pain is etched in the scars that snake around his head.

Coley has undergone seven surgeries and more than three dozen radiation treatments for brain cancer.

"Three years ago, our lives changed forever when our son was diagnosed with brain cancer," Kai's mother Kari Coley said.

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On Monday night, Kai Brown Coley took center stage at the annual fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House in New York.

Since 1979, the Ronald McDonald House on East 73rd Street has housed, served and embraced more than 59,000 families from around the world.

This is a home away from home, providing a rainbow of services for families with sick children. It began with pediatric cancer patients but now accepts other childhood illnesses as well.

For the Coleys, who moved here from Panama to try and save their son, the Ronald McDonald House saved them.

"We didn't want for anything while we were there," Kai's mother said. "They provided meals, a private space and spaces where families going through the same struggle could support each other."

"Hopefully one day there will be a cure for pediatric illness of all kinds," said Ruth Browne, President and CEO of Ronald McDonald House New York. "Meantime, we are doing our part to make sure we're part of that health and healing journey."

They are hoping to raise more than $2 million to help the next wave of families.

For the 9-year-old, not only did this provide emergency shelter for his family, but the Ronald McDonald House is also where he discovered music as therapy and now, he happily shares the joy.

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