Please help Kim fight Brain Cancer!

$68,385 of $125,000 goal

Raised by 298 people in 2 months
Created May 5, 2019
Fundraising Team
39010270_1557097146832489_r.jpeg39010270_1557097194410441_r.jpeg39010270_1557097225722224_r.jpegOn April 4th 2019 Kim was airlifted to the hospital after suffering a major seizure.  She was in the hospital for 11 days as they tried to diagnose the abnormalities in her brain.  She was released and told to see a neurologist, and did, but ended up back in the hospital on April 24th 2019. Since Kim’s condition was declining, she had an MRI that showed massive inflammation.  She was rushed in to emergency surgery due to the amount of pressure that had built up in her brain.  To help relieve the pressure, they had to remove part of her skull.  During surgery they discovered that the abnormality was actually a Large B cell Lymphoma.  They were able to take out 50% of the tumor.  Kim had another surgery on May 1st to remove a blood clot that had formed due to the first surgery. They didn’t take out more of the tumor due to the risk of additional damage to her brain.  The doctors feel her tumor is best treated with immunotherapy, radiation and chemo. 

Every two hours the nurses perform a neurological test on Kim to see how she’s improving.  She has been able to open both eyes and recognize her family and loved ones. Kim still struggles with moving the right side of her body and following some of the cognitive tests, but is improving each day.

Today is May 7th 2019 and Kim is still intubated and is going to have a tracheostomy in a few hours.  She also needs to start radiation, and when she is strong enough, chemo.  The immunotherapy was started on Friday.  She also developed an infection in her brain and she is receiving antibiotics for that.  One more thing for her to fight.  

Many of you know Kim and how much of a fighter she is, but not all fights can be won alone. Kim is going to be in the hospital for a long time and unable to work for many months if at all. She will need therapy in order to fully recover. A timeline for her recovery/release has not been established and we are taking things one day at a time.  With that, we all know life doesn’t stop no matter what is thrown at us, and support from friends, family, and loved ones goes a long way. We have set a goal of $125,000 to help pay for Kim’s hospital bills, both present and future, and her other monthly bills.  She has already received some hefty bills from the first hospitalization.  To be honest, we don't really know how much all of this is going to cost, but if there is money left over, we will donate the funds to brain tumor research.   

Thank you for reading this. Please share this with your loved ones and remember life can change in an instant.  It certainly did for Kim and her family.  The more support we have for Kim the faster she’ll be back on her feet warming all our hearts with her beautiful charm and smile.  Any amount you can give is appreciated. Help us get Kim home.
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July 13, 2019
Apologies for not updating sooner! Kim is still at St. Joe’s, but may be able to go to rehab soon. She did really well with the first round of chemo and cleared it from her system pretty quickly. There were several days where she needed platelets, blood or hemoglobin, but overall it went very well. She started round 2 on Wednesday and it also went really well. Her blood counts are starting to go down as expected, but are not too bad yet.

We have started to see encouraging signs that the chemo is working. She is trying to talk! She isn’t making any sound yet, but is mouthing words. We need to get better at lip reading, because she gets frustrated when she is trying to tell us something and we don’t get it. Her dexterity is also getting better. She still can’t move her right side, but is much better with her left hand than before. She is learning to write with her left hand on paper and an iPad so she can communicate with us. More of her personality is starting to come out, which is so great to see.

She is also doing well in physical, occupational and speech therapy. The therapists here have gone above and beyond to think of ways to help her. She has been given the clearance to eat ice chips, the first step in being able to eat again. Rachel, her OT, arranged for her to take a shower yesterday. It was her first since April 24th. It wore her out, but she enjoyed it. There is still a long road ahead of her, but her recent progress is very encouraging.

Within the next two weeks she will have another MRI so the doctors can see what is left of the tumor. At that point they will decide how much more chemo she will need. We are hoping that she will be able to go to the neuro rehab here instead of having to go to another facility.

Tonight her brother Marty and his band El West, are putting on a benefit show for her at a local restaurant, Angels Trumpet Ale House. They wanted to help her and this is a great way to do it. It will be a fun event with a raffle, t-shirts, silent auction, great music, drinks and food. She would love it, if she were able to go.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support, it means the world to us.
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Update June 20, 2019
Kim is finally getting Chemo! She already received the first round; it started on Sunday. She won’t start to feel fatigued or nauseous for several more days. She will get very weak and be susceptible to infection, but they will monitor her very closely. After she recovers from this round of chemo, she will likely stay at the hospital until her next round about 3 weeks from now. Due to all of her brain surgeries, they want to keep her close by to monitor her labs etc. Two weeks after the second round, they will do an MRI to see what change there has been. If it is working and she is tolerating the chemo well, there will be at least two more rounds.

In the last few days she has been engaging with us, smiling, giving hand signals and making us laugh. She can’t talk yet, so sometimes it is hard to tell what she is thinking, or needs. However, she can communicate a lot with her eyebrows! She is also doing better with PT, OT and Speech. They have been wonderful and we are very pleased with her progress. She hasn’t been able to stand up since April 25th, so imagine how weak she has become. They are working with her on communication, since nodding yes or no only goes so far. We hope that the effects of the chemo won’t set her back too much, but that can’t be helped. It seems that the radiation has helped to shrink the tumor, but the chemo is the only thing that will get rid of it.

One bright spot for her is when the therapy dogs come to visit. This is Bridger.
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Update June 3rd, 2019

This was another week of setbacks and surprises. We were surprised on Tuesday to find out that she would soon be discharged, possibly by Friday the 31st. We needed to find a rehab or skilled nursing facility that would take Kim, while she got strong enough to start Chemo. Although we knew where we wanted her to go, we were told that we should look at several places because there was no guarantee that she would be able to go where we wanted her to go. Yikes! In the meantime, we as a family felt that there were some changes that weren’t being addressed. Little things that don’t mean much on their own, but added together, paint a picture of significant change. She wasn’t moving her left side as much. She stopped mouthing words to us. Started being more tired. Wouldn’t give a “thumbs up” when asked, etc. We requested an MRI, and the doctors agreed to order one.
The MRI was done on Thursday the 30th and showed that her tumor had grown significantly and there are actually multiple lesions now. We consulted with the oncologist and were told that her best option at this point is radiation. The idea is to buy her some time, (again!) so we can get her strong enough for chemo. She had her first round of five on Friday. Her last one is tomorrow. Whether or not she will need another round beyond this one is up in the air. We don’t know yet what effect the radiation has had or will have. For now, the transfer to a rehab facility is on hold until we know more. We expect to have more information by Monday, so we will let everyone know.
Your continued thoughts, prayers and support are greatly appreciated. #kimmiestrong
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May 26, 2019
This week saw a lot of physical improvements, but also some pulling back from Kim.
She had the external drain in her head removed and replaced with a shunt on Wednesday. The surgery started much later in the day than we expected but went well. The next day she was moved from the ICU to a regular room. No more living in a fish bowl! We can close her door and no one can see in. It was kind of hard at first not to be able to look up at a monitor and see all her vitals 24/7. We have mostly gotten used to that.
The Physical and Occupational Therapists have started working with Kim. The first day they tried to sit her up, she couldn’t hold up her own head. Kim has lost so much muscle. She has to wear a helmet to protect her head in case she falls. They keep trying with her and she has shown improvement. On the days she is not really sleepy, she does pretty well and responds to the therapists and does what they ask her to do. They have reduced the dosage on one of her seizure meds, so that helps with the sleepiness. They also showed us some stretches to do with her. Since she has been in bed for so long, some muscles have gotten shorter, or tight and need to be stretched out. If she continues to improve, we hope she can be released to acute rehab, on the grounds of St Joes. In order to go to acute rehab, her therapists have to determine if she will be able to participate in 3 hours of therapy a day. One hour each of Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy. If not, we will have to look at other rehab or skilled nursing facilities. The main goal is to get her strong enough in as short a time frame as possible to start chemo. The concern that the tumor will get bigger is real. Kim completed 4 rounds of immunotherapy, but that was only meant to slow down the growth of the tumor to buy us some more time. The chemo is what will get rid of it, we just need to be able to start it.
The doctors also want to put a PEG in Kim early this week. The PEG is a feeding tube that is surgically placed in her stomach. Up to now, she has been receiving her nutrition through a tube that goes down her nose. Not ideal, but they couldn’t do the PEG sooner due to the infection she had. I would prefer that they try some swallow tests with her first to see if she can actually eat, and see about getting the trach out, but they are telling me she may not be able to take in enough nutrition on her own. Also with the tube in her nose, we have to keep her good arm tied down so she doesn’t pull the tube out. With the PEG, that wouldn’t be necessary.
She has started using a Passy Muir Valve which will allow her to talk, and eventually get off the trach. It is a one way valve that fits over the opening of the trach that allows her to breathe in, but makes her breathe out through her mouth or nose. Up to now she has been doing both through the trach, so she has to practice and build up her strength. She hasn’t practiced talking yet, but we should start within the next couple of days. I am concerned because she doesn’t even try to mouth words to us anymore. All she will do is nod yes or no. As she builds up her strength, they will be able to reduce the size of the trach, and in time, remove it.
That brings me to the withdrawing part. Kim’s responses to her family and fiancé are now rarely anything more than an occasional nod. I don’t know if she is sad, mad, hopeless, or what. I am sure she has so many questions and wonders if she will ever get her life back. We have explained everything to her, and she nods that she understands, but she used to give us a smile every now and then, or a shrug of the shoulders, and she doesn’t anymore. We try to encourage her, and explain to her why she is asked constantly to give the nurse or doctor a thumbs up, but I think she is feeling hopeless. Yesterday, two of her girlfriends came to visit and she did seem to enjoy the visit, so I know she can still crack a smile. Maybe the things they were talking about helped her to get her mind off of her situation, and we just remind her of it, I don’t know. I do know that for her to get better, she has to have hope that she can.
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$68,385 of $125,000 goal

Raised by 298 people in 2 months
Created May 5, 2019
Fundraising Team
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