Six years after defeating cancer, Central Texas child passes away from rare autoimmune disorder

KWTX News 10 at 10P
Published: Sep. 24, 2023 at 5:57 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

NORMANGEE, Texas (KWTX) - September is known as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to bring light of the realities of childhood cancer.

According to the American Childhood Cancer Association, 15,780 children are diagnosed with cancer each year in the U.S.

Xena Robbins from Normangee defeated cancer as a baby, but later passed away from a rare autoimmune disorder at the age of 8. At just 11 months Xena was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Atypical Teratoid Rhabdoid tumors.

”It was hard and scary because you’re like why my child,” Xena’s mother, Danielle Robbins, said.

Her mom Danielle and grandma Tammie Stamper said the child had multiple rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery done at McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple.

“In September of 2016 they told us there was no evidence of the cancer,” Danielle said.

A few months after Xena came home from the hospital in 2017, she started having trouble breathing and sometimes would randomly fall over.

”We rushed her to Texas Children’s and they transferred her back to McLane’s,” Stamper said. “They found that she had a rare autoimmune disorder that was triggered by the tumor.”

The doctors treated the autoimmune disorder, but told her family that even a simple mosquito bite could trigger its return. Then six years later, in 2023, a UTI sent her back to the hospital and the doctors found that the autoimmune disorder had returned.

”We had already known from 7 years ago that if it ever came back and they didn’t catch it the first day we wouldn’t be able to beat it,” Danielle said.

Xena passed away at the age of 8 on June 29 2023.

”There’s some days I can get up and function just fine, there’s other days where the bed is my best friend,” Danielle said.

Xena’s mom and grandma are now advocates of childhood cancer, encouraging any parent to immediately seek help if they notice something abnormal.

”Be your child’s voice,” Stamper said. “Don’t be scared to ask for a second opinion. If you feel like something’s wrong, don’t put it off. Get your child to a doctor.”