Kevin's New Job: Beating Cancer

Kevin Nance is my husband. He’s my best friend. My support system. My encouragement to always see the best in myself and others. During the best and worst of times he’s always my rock, and can find humor in any situation. He provides comfort, is an optimist and a fighter. He’s the kind of guy who would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. And the best part about him is that he’s not just this to me. Anyone who’s had the pleasure of getting to know Kevin can relate to the selfless, caring, humorous man he is, to him, everyone and everything is family.


In the timeline of our life, Kevin and I were at a peak. We were very happily married. Our daughter was entering Middle School with a positive, helpful attitude and excellent grades. We’d both found companies and careers that we were excited about. We’d settled into our home and were thrilled to add little touches to make it our own. And best of all, we’d been celebrating the miracle of conception for the last 8 months. We learned we’d be having our first baby boy together.


Kevin hadn't been feeling well for several weeks toward the end of October. Subtle symptoms like fatigue, sore throat, and paleness were written off as due to changes in the weather.  A bizarre episode with a swollen tongue found him in the ICU where he was treated for ketoacidosis and released a few days later. Our family smiled for maternity/family photos on Sunday November 3rd. The next morning Kevin woke with such a sore throat it was enough to make this man, that I have never seen cry, cry tears of pain. We took him to Henry Ford's Main Hospital in Detroit where he underwent a series of tests.

The next day a doctor approached myself, Kevin, and his mom and stated they would be starting chemotherapy immediately. This was the first time anyone had mentioned cancer as a possibility. One day later, November 5th, we were told Kevin had acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and it was spreading rapidly. Statistically speaking, 68% of the blood cells his body was producing were cancerous. There aren't words to describe the effect these words had on us. This couldn't be happening! This time was supposed to be so joyous as we entered the 9th month of our pregnancy, a miracle that we didn't think was possible.

But it was happening. It was CANCER. And we resolved not to let it break us. Kevin promised he would beat this, and he meant it. Our daughter, Lilly, asked me if Daddy was going to die, we told her "no", and we meant it. There was no time for self pity, we were going forward with aggressive chemotherapy to fight the equally aggressive cancer.

Our resolve continued to be tested as we found out he had a FLT 3 gene mutation that aids in the rapidly developing cancer cells to develop even faster. 20-30% of patients with AML have this mutation. Luckily, a pill had recently been approved by the FDA to inhibit this with an astounding 2 week price tag of $15,000. Thankfully insurance covered a majority of this. It was at this time we also found out that a stem cell/bone marrow transplant would be Kevin's best option to live as long as possible and so his Bone Marrow Transplant Team began their search with Be The Match. Finally, on November 27th, 2018, after 24 days of being in a hospital, Kevin was released.

On December 5th, one month after Kevin's diagnosis, Kevin was by my side as I delivered our beautiful baby boy, Harrison. Less than 2 weeks later Kevin was back at the hospital for a week of consolidation chemotherapy. 

It was toward the end of January we found they had a match for Kevin and he would be getting a bone marrow transplant on February 14th.  It felt so good to cry tears of joy and feel love for a person I have never met for saving my husband’s life. His transplant, a procedure that looks as simple as a transfusion, but costs $300,000-$500,000, went very smoothly and he returned home, February 26th, prepared to live his new life under heavy restrictions.

The next day I found him unresponsive on our couch and called 911. The ICU determined it was pneumonia in both lungs and septic shock and he was placed on a ventilator. The next week was a blur of tears, prayers, and sleepless nights. Kevin was woken up on March 5th where we tried to help him piece everything together. I noticed his lack of control of his left hand and wrote it off to his muscles going unused for his week on the ventilator. An MRI revealed that at some point he had most likely suffered a stroke causing the weakness. 

Kevin is home now, recovering, receiving care and therapy and getting stronger and staying as positive as ever that we will beat this, ALL of it. 

I have been blessed with an incredibly understanding employer that has allowed me to stay by Kevin's side since November 5th.  Although I love my job (a job that inspired me to return to Graduate School to become a BCBA) giving ABA therapy to kids with autism, and I miss my kiddos; I was exactly where I needed to be- providing support to my husband, our daughter and our newborn. We are therefore asking for financial assistance to offset costs associated with extended hospital stays on the oncology floor, in the ICU, prescriptions, home care, medical supplies, and necessities of life. This experience has been incredibly humbling, and the best thing that has come of it is how close we have all become as family and how our friends, neighbors and even strangers has made things easier to cope with by their kind words and prayers.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, this is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to write, so truly thank you for considering donating.


Donations (0)

  • Katie Hastings 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Lauren Vavala 
    • $5 
    • 4 mos
  • Sharon Hollis 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 4 mos
  • Tim and Stephanie Taylor 
    • $100 
    • 4 mos


Jenna Nance 
Wyandotte, MI
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