6-year-old fighting cancer attends class with robot’s help

By Ryan DiPentima, Palm Beach Post

Modern technology is helping a young child with cancer attend school as she fights the disease.

According to ABC News, 6-year-old Paisley Jane Trojanowski, better known as PJ, was diagnosed with kidney cancer in January, a disease that she has fought head-on.

“It takes a lot out of her … (but) she’s taking it in stride,” PJ’s dad, Eric Trojanowski, told ABC News. “She talks about (how) she’s going to beat cancer.”

PJ, who started kindergarten at Robinson Primary School in Robinson, Texas, has been unable to return to school because of a weakened immune system. With the help of a VGo robot, a device that allows people in a distant location to be heard, seen and even move around, Trojanowski hasn’t missed months of class.

The VGo was brought to the school with help from the school and the Region 12 Education Service Center, according to ABC News.

The mobile robot, which Trojanowski operates from her iPad, has allowed her to sit in on lessons from her teacher and interact with her classmates while she receives chemotherapy treatments at a hospital 35 miles away.

Trojanowski’s teacher, Michelle Adkins, told ABC News the 19 other students in the class have adjusted to Trojanowski’s virtual presence. Adkins has also done two home teaching visits a week to help PJ practice face-to-face skills.

“I think she likes to interact with it,” Adkins tells ABC News. “She likes to know what we’re doing and it’s a way for her to get more learning time in.”

PJ is undergoing chemotherapy and will have surgery in April to remove the two tumors in her kidneys. The family hopes that she can rejoin her classmates in first grade.