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.

December 18, 2018


Pine Tree Apple Classic Fund gives $260,000 to Children’s Minnesota for Childhood Cancer Research


Each August, over 110 of the area’s top men’s and women’s tennis players take to the courts at Life Time in White Bear Lake, Minnesota to participate in the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic (PTATC), an annual, mixed-doubles tennis tournament that raises funds for childhood cancer research at Children’s Minnesota.

On Thursday, December 13, 2018, the Pine Tree Apple Classic Fund (PTACF) Board presented Children’s Minnesota staff with a check for $260,000 from funds raised at this year’s PTATC.  “In this 33rd year of the PTATC and first operating as our own non-profit organization, we’re thrilled to make this contribution to Children’s Minnesota on behalf of our PTATC 2018 players, sponsors and donors,” said Kevin Werwie, PTACF President.  “This is the second largest fundraising year in our event’s history.”


Funds raised by the PTATC support research to find better ways to treat children with cancer and to keep them active and strong during and after their treatment.

Dr. Kris Ann Schultz, Medical Research Representative at Children’s Minnesota explained, “Children's cancer research isn't only what happens in the lab.  Real advances happen when we all pull together-- tennis players, sponsors, donors, researchers, coordinators, children and their families.  When we all work together, we really can improve outcomes for kids with cancer.  Pine Tree is a wonderful example of that-- so many advances made possible by this inspiring group,” 


Since its inception in 1986, the PTATC has raised over $5.5 million for cancer research at Children’s Minnesota.

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Pine Tree Apple Classic Fund is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Our tax identification number is 82-4314989.

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