ATHENS - This is the best news the Georgia football program has received this season: Kasyn Olivadotti has been declared cancer-free.
Kasyn, 6, is the daughter of inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti. She was diagnosed with leukemia in June of 2011, a few months after the family moved to Athens. Two-and-a-half years later, after a grueling ordeal of treatments and ups and downs, the family received the good news.
"She had a surgery on Friday and that should hopefully be the last surgery that we've got. So far, we're declaring victory right now," Olivadotti said Tuesday night. "So she's cancer-free, and we're very, very excited about it. She's on the mend right now from that last thing and hopefully everything will be all right."
Kasyn became a cause for the Bulldogs over the past two years, with coaches, players and staffers wearing red wristbands saying "KASYN CARES." Head coach Mark Richt has been seen wearing it almost every day.
For a coach with a demanding job, it's been a long ordeal, but Olivadotti singled out his wife, Keely, for helping the family (including four-year-old son Kruz) through the process.
"It's almost one of those things where I don't remember life before it as much," Olivadotti said. "It's one of those kind of moments. There's been a lot of things that have happened, good and bad, in the whole thing. But at the end of the day it's happened to us, and it's our experience, and we still have her, and we're very happy about that.
"If there's one thing, I married the right lady, and I know that."
Initially in the fall of 2011 doctors felt Kasyn was in remission. But to be sure, Kasyn underwent an aggressive series of treatment for 18 months. She was treated at the Aflac Cancer Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. The family approached the situation in 60-day increments, which helped them deal with it mentally.
"It actually kind of snuck up on us that she was done," Olivadotti said. "We just kind of went 60 days, 60 days, 60 days. It worked out, and Kasyn, she's a good kid. She's a pretty mature kid. And she's been through a lot, a lot more than a six-year-old should have to go through. But hey, there's a lot of kids that are walking through Children's Hospital there who have been through a lot of stuff."