Kelsey's continued cancer/comfort care

My younger sister, Kelsey, has spent her entire young adulthood in and out of hospitals. And in the midst of this horrific battle, we recently unexpectedly and tragically lost our Father..and the insurance she had under him. (More on this below.) Time is limited! Please read information below!

Kelsey was diagnosed with Stage 3 Hodgkins Llymphoma (blood cancer) five years ago at 19 years old. While all of her friends continued college and a normal young adult life, Kelsey had to quit her job she loved so much at the Boys and Girls Club, and quit school to start Chemotherapy.  

(Photo from stem cell transplant in-patient hospital stay November 2017)

In the almost 5 years since then, she has completed so many chemotherapies I started to lose track. She would find remission, just to relapse. At one point, she was cancer-free enough to undergo a stem cell transplant (with the hope of a cure).

This was a very grueling procedure that required us to stay at the hospital for 3 months (more detailed information on this can be found in the blog website listed at the bottom of the page). Post transplant, Kelsey was cancer-free for almost 14 months before the devastating relapse. 

Since the initial stem cell transplant relapse, there have been many other therapies and more relapses. Our most recent visit to the Dr informed us that Kelsey is stage 4 and out of curative options. We have moved our focus to comfort, palliative care at home. 

Part of this comfort treatment might include radiation therapy, as she has tumors encasing her sacral area and pressing on nerves in her spine. The radiation would shrink the tumors sitting on the nerves, alleviating some of her pain. Once cancer is in the bone, and sits on nerves, it can be excruciatingly painful. Radiation would be Mon-Friday for up to 4 weeks, possibly at the City of Hope cancer center in LA: close to two hours from our home. (break down of possible radiation cost below)


If you know Kelsey personally, you have been touched by her. In the five plus years of pokes, prods, scans, tests, infusions, trails, surgery, lengthy hospital stays, etc during cancer treatment, Kelsey has never lost her smile or positive attitude. No matter how ill she felt, she has always been so kind, caring and gracious. Patients, nurses, doctors and even assistants all fall in love with Kelsey and her pure spirit.

 I will never forget the time that Kelsey had a  violent reaction to chemotherapy infusion at her cancer hospital City of Hope in LA, after we had already left the hospital. We had a hotel for the night so we could be close by to the hospital, just in case.

After she finished her infusion and we got into the room she began to have an adverse "reaction" to the chemotherapy. She was sweating and violently shaking and crying in intense pain.

We immediately called 911. She was loaded into the ER, with my grandparents following behind and I was in the front seat. I was crying and trying to hold it together in the front of the ambulance, and in the back (through tears streaming down her face) Kelsey was cracking jokes and making the EMT's laugh.

She told me that they must be scared, and she wanted to make them comfortable. They were so touched by her, that the EMT staff returned later to the hospital with flowers and a card that they all signed for Kelsey. 

This is the epitome of Kelsey's character. As I have spent some very frightening days and nights bedside her in the hospital, as she had terrible reactions and side effects, she would look up at me with her crystal blue eyes and say, "I am so sorry, this must be so scary for you." 

Treatment has only exemplified her character, rather than damage it. 


Recently, we got the news that our Dad unexpectedly passed away May 3, 2019.  In the wake of this devastating news, we are left with a very harsh reality. My sister was being covered under my father's insurance, and now that he has passed, that coverage has ended.

Our grandparents worked tirelessly to get her covered under Cobra insurance. But the cost of Cobra every month is extremely high ($700+/month just for the premium) and there are still out of pocket expenses as well. These expenses include her medication, medical supplies (such as a hospital bed), palliative care, and possible radiation treatment. 

Possible break down of radiation *estimated* therapy costs: A study in Community Oncology showed radiation treatment cost varied by type of radiation used, ranging from $4,500 to about $14,500."

(Photo from our Father's funeral services May 10, 2019)

     In addition to medical expenses, Kelsey has made a sort of "bucket list" that includes a visit to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios with an overnight stay at a hotel, a concert of her favorite band 5 seconds of Summer, and "movie dates" as she calls them. She also thought of a few semi local overnight trips that she might like to take. We want to make the most of her time while she feels well enough to do so.

(Photo from Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios, Florida when she was feeling well)

 No matter how small, every donation counts. Even $5 or $10 from a stranger, or acquaintance, begin to add up. I can't think of anyone more deserving of help than my sister Kelsey. She has faced so much tragedy and adversity and continues to be so loving, positive, and optimistic.  She deserves to be pain free and have some fun while she feels well enough to do so. Donate if you can, "share" if you can't, and pray for us either way. <3

I have been keeping a blog of her story thus far on the Caring Bridge website.  If you would like to read her journey in-depth, it is found at

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Brittany Blackham 
Dana Point, CA
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