Kathi's Brain Tumor Journey

$11,508 of $17,000 goal

Raised by 126 people in 23 months
Created November 29, 2016
Fundraising team
on behalf of Kathi Bialczak-Felker



*** Updated 3/8/18***

Hello everyone. I posted a full update and update section today. Please read the update section!!

Kathi is again hospitalized in Philadelphia. She’s having a very hard time, her platelets are very low and she is very weak. They’re waiting on specialize platelets to be delivered to hopefully help get them regulated!

I want to thank everyone for your generosity, prayers and love. Please please keep the prayers coming she really really needs them now.

I also put in the update that we are having a few small fundraisers in our community just to try to help keep some money coming in for Kathi. She had to leave her job and this is has taken an emotional and financial toll on her. The fact that she had to leave her job is devastating to her. Working with the children at the elementary schools being the principal, meant the world to her. She misses each and everyone of them.

We are having a comedy show at Wise crackers, at the Mohegan Sun Casino on March 16. Tickets are $20 and there will be a lot of basket raffles there as well. If anyone is interested please message me.

We are also selling bracelets and keychains with #FightForFelker on them. They are gray with purple writing to signify brain cancer awareness! The bracelets are four dollars, and the keychains or five dollars. If anyone is interested, please message me or a Toni Rukse on FB. We can mail these to you if you are interested!

After the comedy show we will be planning another small fundraiser, perhaps a pasta dinner or something of the sort. I will keep everyone updated.

Please please please continue to pray for Kathi. She’s having a very hard time and needs as many prayers as she can get!

Much love,

Kim Hartman






*** updated 2/7/18***

Please let’s help Kathi!!

Kathi Bialczak Felker is a beautiful 41 year old wife, mother of 3, (along with 5 additional step children, and now 3 grandchildren), principal of two elementary schools (Mill City Elementary and Evans Falls Elementary) in the Tunkhannock School District who has been fiercely fighting  a malignant brain tumor for almost 10 years.   She has been traveling to Philadelphia for years to undergo treatment and recently made several trips back and forth to Boston to take part in a medication trial, which unfortunately did not work.

I have just posted an update and the update section however as of today, February 7, 2018, Kathy is hospitalized in Philadelphia with complications. We are trying to get the campaign up and running again to help her with her financial needs. Kathi just had to take a sabbatical from work and is experiencing financial difficulties. We are trying to take some of the burden off of her, so she does not have to worry about her bills and medical bills.

We are just trying to raise some money until some benefits and fundraisers can be planned, which we are currently trying to do.

During this entire time , Kathi has continued to work, as a teacher in the early part of her journey, and currently as the principal of  two elementary  schools in the Tunkhannock Area School District.  

Kathi  has literally been to hell and back enduring surgery after surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hair loss, removal of part of her skull, and yet she always has  smile on her face and a positive outlook on life!  

Kathi and her husband Bob have spent thousands and thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical bills,  medications and traveling expenses.    This has taken a financial toll on them and we would love to be able to help them and take away some of that burden.  

Please consider helping her in any way possible!   Any amount will help, and most importantly please keep the prayers coming for her!!  ❤️❤️

This is the short version of Kathi's Brain Tumor journey.   Please read the full story below......

In 2007, Kathi started having headaches. An MRI was ordered and showed a meningioma (tumor). Her children named it Otis… as a way for them to be able to talk about it and help her "fight it".   They were very young at the time.  

Kathi started treatment at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia given the complexity and location of the tumor. 

Secondary to the location of the tumor, it was impossible to remove it 100%, so Kathi underwent Gamma Knife procedure in November 2007. This seemed to slow the growth until 2011 when her vision issues started.

 At that time, a new MRI showed the tumor was almost twice its original size. Kathi's neurosurgical team, led by Dr. Grady, at the University of Pennsylvania, performed her first craniotomy to remove what he could in January 2012. At that time tumor biopsy showed it was Grade 2.   Since the tumor was malignant, Kathi underwent seven weeks of proton radiation ( traveling to Philadelphia every day for seven weeks for the daily treatment). 

Everything seemed to be going well until February 15, 2015 (Kathi's  40th birthday) when she lost her peripheral vision.   A new MRI showed a new 2 cm tumor.

Kathi then underwent surgery in March 2015, and had several other surgeries to resect the tumor throughout 2015. (She is up to a total of nine surgeries at this time).

In September 2015, Kathi had to have part of her skull removed due to infection.   She was without part of her skull, and had to wear a helmet for protection, until December 2015.

In December 2015, the neurosurgical team was going to rebuild the skull, but unfortunately, new tumor growth was again discovered. The neurosurgical team removed what they could and biopsy showed a very rare Grade 3 cancer.  

In early 2016, Kathi  was able to get into a trial in Boston with Dr. Brastianos.   The medication was called GSK. Kathi and Bob had to travel back-and-forth to Boston about 6-7 times .  Unfortunately, the tumor was not responding to the medication and she had to be taken off of the trial.

 Kathi had to undergo two additional surgeries in 2016 for resection of the tumor with the last one being on October 28, 2016.   The neurosurgical team was very successful in tumor removal, they were very optimistic as it appeared they were able to get a lot of the tumor removed (they could never resect all of the tumor due to location and it being wrapped around nerves of the brain). However, things seemed to be finally looking up for Kathi and Bob.

Kathi went for follow up and repeat MRI on November 29, 2016. Sadly, Kathi and Bob were yet again given devastating news. The tumor grew 3 cm in less than a month. Kathi  and Bob were told she was at a very critical point. Her options were running out.

Since all medications and treatments over the last 10 years have ultimately failed, she was trying desperately to get access to an immunotherapy trial drug. Very thankfully she was informed yesterday that she was finally approved for this trial.

We are so very thankful she was finally approved. She has hundreds and hundreds of friends and family praying every day for her.
  
 If you are able to help, any amount is appreciated. We are trying to help offset the cost of her mounting medical bills, medications and traveling expenses. Please keep her in your prayers as that is the most important thing and she truly appreciates everyone's love and support!!   ❤️❤️
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3/8/18

Hello to everyone. I want to thank everyone for your generosity to Kathi and her family and for all the continuing prayers and love.

As of today, Kathi is still hospitalized in Philadelphia. They are having a hard time getting her platelets regulated again. Her platelets are very low and she is weak. She is waiting on specialized platelets to be delivered to the hospital, and hopefully this will help to get them back up!

We are trying to do a couple small fundraisers in our community to continue to help Kathi financially. As you can imagine this has taken a terrible emotional and financial toll on Kathi and her family especially since she has had to stop working. This is very hard on her because her job as a principal, working with all those elementary students, is so important to her! She misses each and every one of them!!

Our first fundraiser is a comedy show at Wise crackers at the Mohegan Sun Casino on March 16. If anyone is interested in tickets please private message me. They are $20 each. Will also have a lot of basket raffles there as well. Kathi and Bob were planning to attend this fundraiser and have a nice night out, but as of today I am not positive they will be able to attend.

We are also selling bracelets and keychains, they are gray with purple writing that say #fightforfelker. They are $4 for bracelet and $5 for keychain. Again we are trying to just do some small things to keep some money coming in.

I will keep everyone updated as to what we have planned next! Again, we sincerely appreciate your continued support, prayers and love for Kathi and her family. Please keep them coming, she really needs extra prayers right now!!



Much love,

Kim Hartman
(Kathi’s cousin)
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2/7/18

Hi Everyone and thank you to all who contributed to help Kathi!

I am updating this page and hope to get it going again. Unfortunately, Kathi is currently hospitalized in Philadelphia with complications. She had to take a sabbatical from work and is having financial difficulties!! We have begun a Fundraising page , thanks to Nadia and Nate, and we are trying to get some fundraisers going. However in the meantime we are trying to raise some money to help Kathi with her daily bills and to stay afloat so she is not stressed about that while she’s trying to deal with her medical conditions and complications!! ❤️❤️

Please, PLEASE PLEASE share this and let’s help Kathi!!! She’s the best and deserves everything we can do to help!!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! Kim
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Happy Holidays to all! I wanted to share some amazing news Kathi received in the mail today! There is definite evidence that the tumor has shrunk with the use of the immunotherapy medication (Opivo) in combination with the Avastin! We are so incredibly grateful this Christmas Eve! Thank you again for your support and prayers!

Kathi will continue with her second infusion on Tuesday, 12/27/16! Please continue to pray for her!

From our whole family to yours, Merry Christmas, Happy
Hanukkah !

Here is the part of her report indicating the decrease in the tumor size ❤️

Many Blessings,
Kim Hartman
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Hi guys... I made an error on the dates of Kathi's appointments. She will be going to Philly Tuesday 12/13/16 and has appointments the following two Tuesdays after that as well ! Sorry I cannot edit the first update !! Thanks !! ❤️

Kimberly Hartman
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$11,508 of $17,000 goal

Raised by 126 people in 23 months
Created November 29, 2016
Fundraising team
on behalf of Kathi Bialczak-Felker
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