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Rising Above Leukemia: Balloons become symbol for sister's fight against cancer

Morgan Aguilar
October 07, 2017 07:00 PM

Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series called "Rising Above Leukemia." Click here for Part 1. Click here for Part 3. 

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- For the first time, a pair of sisters from California have taken their mission of helping kids battling cancer to New Mexico. Kristine and Brianna Tesauro have a thing for balloons.

"We just fell in love with hot air balloons," Brianna said. "It's our logo."

"We put them everywhere," Kristine added.

It makes sense that they would want to come to the world’s largest gathering of hot air balloons -- the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. It’s No. 64 on their "Dream List" at CatchSomeAir.com. They sell T-shirts, bags and hats with the goal of helping other kids who are fighting cancer just like Kristine is.

She was diagnosed three years ago.

"That was pretty intense," Kristine said. "I was very shocked by it because our brother was diagnosed like 13 years before, and he passed away from it. So it was kind of like, I wasn't expecting the whole cancer thing to happen again to our family."

Brianna took on the role of being Kristine’s caretaker. After countless nights spent in the hospital, they got bored and started dreaming and drawing.

"We brought Sharpies and our old white T-shirts and we just started drawing happy designs -- things that made us laugh, kept us positive," Kristine said.

They made some new close friends, too, with other kids and families caught in a similar battle.

"They helped me so much through it, like when you're seeing a little kid go through what you are, and how much courage and bravery they have through it, it totally puts it all into perspective for me,” Kristine said.

The sisters have made it their mission to help others fighting cancer. When the brother of KOB weatherman Steve Stucker met them in California, Rob Stucker figured he could help.

"It's been incredible. The people that give and contribute to this have been so amazing," Kristine said.

Rob Stucker provided them with a trip to this year’s Balloon Fiesta, and he made sure they were able to help some locals catch some air.

Kristine and Brianna say there is just something about balloons that they can relate to their experience with cancer. They say it’s the way you don’t know where you’re going to land, so you may as well enjoy the adventure.

"Through treatment, you've got to just kind of not worry about too much in the future, and just enjoy every moment while it's there and while you have it," Brianna said.

Credits

Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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