Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meet Kimberly

We have set up this blog so that friends, family, and supporters of Kimberly Batchelor can learn more about her situation and see how she's doing.

Born on December 8, 1999, Kimberly is a normal little girl who enjoys softball, basketball, and going to the beach. She loves country music. Her favorite animal is the sea turtle. Like many 12 year-olds, Kimberly is a facebook addict. She is rarely seen without a smile.

A few short months ago... before she got sick

In 2008, Kimberly’s father died, leaving her mother, Shona, to care for Kimberly, her sister Katelyn, and her brother Justin. That same year, as the housing marked slumped, Shona’s job as an office manager for an architectural firm was eliminated. Since then, Shona has been making ends meet by cleaning homes and offices, while also attending college.

In January of 2012, Kimberly began experiencing severe headaches. By February, they were debilitating enough for Shona to take her to the ER. After two days of CAT scans, MRIs, and lumbar punctures, the doctors could find nothing wrong, and Kimberly was sent home. She was still smiling.

A week later, while on vacation with her family, Kimberly’s symptoms worsened. She was taken to a bigger hospital and subjected to even more tests… and the doctors could still find nothing.

A week later, Kimberly began having seizures. Within days, she was in a coma. Emergency procedures were required to relieve the pressure on her spine and brain, and she came out of the coma. When she was strong enough, she underwent more tests, with still no diagnosis. And yet she was still smiling.

After months of frustration and five weeks at the one of the best children’s hospitals in the world, a tissue biopsy indicated that Kimberly has a very rare brain disease, leptomeningeal oligodendrogliomatosis. This type of cancer is so rare there are very few documented cases, most of which have been diagnosed post mortem. While the prognosis is not good, the medical community is not certain what is possible and cannot predict what the outcome will be for Kimberly.

Kimberly now
Kimberly began chemotherapy immediately. Like all cancer patients, the side effects of chemotherapy were very hard on Kimberly’s body, but her spirit remained strong. In July, Kimberly started radiation treatment.

In a very short time, the worlds of Kimberly and her friends and family were turned upside down. She is in and out of the hospital. She gets around with the help of a wheelchair. There are days when she seems almost normal, and other days when she can barely stand the pain. She is losing her hair. But she is still smiling.

The family does not have health insurance. Before Kimberly got sick, Shona, like many single parents, struggled to make ends meet. Now, she has stopped working to care for Kimberly, including spending night after night sleeping in a hospital chair at Kimberly’s side.

At one of the many events her community has sponsored
to help Kimberly and her family
Kimberly is from Hampstead, North Carolina, and while it is a small town, Hampstead is a huge community. The community has sponsored bake sales, silent auctions, bar-b-ques, motorcycle Poker Runs, Texas-Hold’em tournaments, and even a wrestling event, giving whatever they can to help Shona pay for hospital bills, food, and other living expenses. But the bills keep coming, and the community is tapped out.

This brave little girl needs your help to keep on fighting. Your donation could help pay for her groceries. A trip to the beach. A round of radiation. Whatever you can give would help this little girl. You could be the key to keeping the smile on this beautiful face.

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