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Md. girl uses robot to help kick cancer | News

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Md. girl uses robot to help kick cancer

POOLESVILLE, Md. (WUSA9) -- A Maryland 5th grader who underwent about four weeks of radiation went back to school on Monday for the first time in about a month, and it may be thanks to a robot.

Peyton Walton of Poolesville was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Embryonal Sarcoma, a rare form of liver cancer, in late June. Doctors told the 10-year-old girl she’d have a 30 to 50 percent chance of survival.

“I wanted whatever time she had to be as full as possible,” Lynn Schaeber, Peyton’s mother, said.

A parent at Peyton’s former New Jersey school told Schaeber about Cisco’s video conferencing technology. Then she found out about Double Robotics, a company that makes an iPad-based telepresence robot called Double.

And those discoveries became Peyton’s robot, who is rolling around Poolesville Elementary School. The robot is named PAVS, which stands for Peyton’s Awesome Virtual Self.

As Peyton's teacher raised her fist to the iPad screen, you see Peyton doing the same from her New York hospital room.

The robot is no bigger than a teacher sitting down. But to Peyton’s mother, the size of its impact can not be overstated. 

“Huge because you know, to find yourself as a 10-year-old through an illness is very difficult,” said Schaeber.

Schaeber told WUSA9 the robot allowed her daughter to keep some sense of normalcy as she underwent a very difficult time. Peyton was able to keep her connections and enjoy what she loves most, friends and school.

The 10-year-old not only underwent radiation, she also underwent about six weeks of Chemotherapy to fight her cancer.

Doctors will still need to perform tests and she’ll need medical treatment for the rest of her life. Still, the 10-year-old is now feeling strong enough to slowly get back into the classroom.

“When she had just received punctures and you know, really terrible drugs into her body but that she would still do that and be excited to go to reading class, it totally changed how her treatment progressed and her outlook and her prognosis. I think really changed her prognosis,” Schaeber said.

Both of Peyton’s schools fundraised to get the Cisco conferencing technology and Double robot. Double Robotics sells the iPad based robot for about $3,000.

It’s something Schaeber hopes more students fighting cancer can have access to and told WUSA9 she’s now drafting legislation she wants to propose, to do just that.

Schaeber told WUSA9 even though this technology is used almost daily and has been around for a few years, Peyton is the first student in the state of Maryland to use it. There have been one or two more since, Peyton’s mom tells WUSA9.

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