2017 Honored Patient: Kennedy
It is sometimes easy to forget that the good work and funds that are raised every year here at the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic play an important role in the recovery of critically ill patients all across our our country and the globe. Just one example of that can be seen in the story of Kennedy (age 3-1/2) of Fort Worth, Texas.
Kennedy was given a very tough diagnosis of Pleuropulmonary Blastoma, Type 2 on December 9, 2015. At that time, Kennedy showed signs of a bad cold and her doctor believed her cough sounded like pneumonia. A subsequent chest x-ray revealed a mass in her lung.
Kennedy was treated at Cook Children’s Hospital, also in Fort Worth. Her oncologist is Dr. Anish Ray. Other doctors who contributed to her care include Dr. Nancy Dambro, her pulmonologist, Dr. Jose Iglesias, her surgeon and Dr. Catherine Hampton, her pediatrician. Pediatric oncology patients and their families almost always have a favorite nurse or two and the Coke Family is no exception.
“Our favorite nurses are Ashley, Dr. Ray’s nurse, and Allie who works on the floor where she was admitted for chemo,” said Kennedy’s mom Jodi. “They were always kind and patient with us as parents and so great with Kennedy. They saw all three of us at our absolute worst and were also there with us for some of the happiest moments of our lives.”
Now for the best news.
“She is DONE!,” said Jodi. “We finished up 10 months of chemo on August 24, 2016. Now, Kennedy has scans under anesthesia every 3 months to monitor many organs that need to be followed closely due to her DICER1 Genetic mutation. These include her brain, lungs, ovaries, liver and thyroid, among others.”
Life is moving on with gusto for Kennedy and her parents, Wes and Jodi. She will soon begin preschool at Children’s Courtyard, Alliance. Before that, Kennedy is enjoying a fun summer of princess dance camp, swim lessons, and helping her mom teach The Lion King at a summer musical theatre camp. She also loves Frozen, Moana and doing crafts. It is not unusual to find Kennedy in a princess costume asking to be called by that princess’s name.
Looking ahead, Kennedy wants to be a choir teacher “like her mama” and is a regular with her mom at school and concerts. Funny and polite, Kennedy has a much larger vocabulary compared to others her age. She is comfortable chatting with anyone who will listen. Interestingly, her favorite food is sushi along with broccoli and artichokes.
The family is very thankful for everyone who has played a role in Kennedy’s recovery.
“They saved us as parents and allowed us to fight for our child with our heads held high because they worked so hard on our behalf. We wouldn’t have made it through without their help.”
As we take stock as guests, participants and organizers of the PTATC, it is important to remember the far-reaching, tangible benefits of this tennis classic. Congratulations to Kennedy and all who helped her along the way.