WAUKESHA, Wis. — It was pure excitement when Andrew and Kristine Koser found out they were expecting their first child, a baby girl named Aubrey.  

Kristine said the first two months of her pregnancy were smooth, but it took a turn. After frequent constipation, she found out she had stage 3 colon cancer. 

“One Thursday afternoon it got so bad that we ended up in the emergency department,” said Kristine Koser. “They did some scans and found out I had a bowl obstruction.”

What You Need To Know

  • Li-Fraumeni syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that increases the risk to develop a cancer

  • Kristine Koser developed Li-Fraumeni syndrome on her own and passed it down to her daughter Aubrey

  • Kristine Koser was diagnosed with state 3 colon cancer when she was pregnant

  • Aubrey Koser was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at 2 years old

She was able to receive chemotherapy treatments safely before she delivered her daughter Aubrey early. 

“We planned her delivery at 36 weeks when we knew she’d do well and wouldn’t need a long admission for prematurity but not expose her to any extra chemo she didn’t need to be a part of,” said Kristine Koser. 

The Kosers were overjoyed to welcome their baby girl into the world. She was born with paralysis and is unable to walk, but that hasn’t stopped her. 

(Photo Courtesy of the Koser family)

Kristine Koser discovered after her cancer diagnoses that she has a rare genetic disorder. It increases the risk of developing a cancer called Li-Fraumeni syndrome. 

“I developed it all on my own,” said Kristine Koser. “They said 10-15% of patients with Li-Fraumeni develop the mutation rather than a family member, but once you have the mutation you have about a 50% chance of passing it to your children.” 

The mutation was passed down to Aubrey Koser, and she too was diagnosed with cancer at just 2 years old.

(Photo Courtesy of the Koser family)

“It’s a weird experience to wonder when the next cancer will hit the family,” said Kristine Koser. “It was a hard thing when we did get the call that she was positive because we knew cancer was going to be in our future going forward and we would have to watch for it at a really young age.” 

Aubrey Koser has rhabdomyosarcoma and has just a few more months of chemotherapy treatments. 

“I don’t think she quite understands that every child has to go through this, but she knows she has cancer,” said Kristine Koser. 

It’s been a hard year, but the Kosers said their daughter has handled the circumstances with grace. 

(Photo Courtesy of the Koser family)

“Aubrey’s positivity is just contiguous,” said Andrew Koser. “When we leave her chemo appointments and we’re drained and exhausted and it feels hard as a parent and she’s just laughing and giggling, she wants just to see the fish at children’s hospital — it makes us feel better.” 

As her 4th birthday approaches, Aubrey Koser’s wish is for her hair to grow back. Her parents wish for their daughter to be healthy and for her smile and outlook on life to never fade. 

The Kosers just welcomed their second child. They were able to test an embryo through in vitro fertilization for Li-Fraumeni syndrome.