2017 Chicagoland CureSearch Superheroes Unite!

Our Superhero!  Kennedy Khalimsky
Our Superhero! Kennedy Khalimsky

Kennedy's Cure

Support CureSearch by Walking with us on September 24, 2017 at the Schaumburg Boomer's Stadium!

Our family became involved with CureSearch after our 4-year-old daughter, Kennedy, was diagnosed with ALL leukemia on February 2, 2012. It all began when Kennedy began exhibiting symptoms like coughing, exhaustion, nausea and difficulty urinating, over a 2-month period. Despite numerous trips to the pediatrician, she remained undiagnosed. It wasn’t until the pediatrician ordered a blood draw, and after checking into Loyola Medical Center in Maywood, Illinois, that we heard the devastating news - cancer.

It was a whirlwind - the day after she was admitted, they surgically inserted a port and started chemo infusion.  We met with Dr. Ricarchito Manera, a brilliant and kind doctor, who patiently sat down and gave us a protocol for her first 29 days called induction. He explained that after induction, she would be put on a randomized study, backed by CureSearch.

The study would be based on her risk assessment from a bone marrow test." After a 5-day hospital stayat diagnosis, we returned the next day because Kennedy had a fever that she couldn’t shake. We spent the next month in the hospital, with Kennedy being poked and prodded, swallowing "icky" meds, and being woken every few hours during the nigh.  She morphed into a tiny superhero, and we called her Princess K."

Mom and dad - us (Edan Gelt & Gene Khalimsky) alternated stays at the hospital, becoming ships passing in the night. Our son Maddox, who was 7 at the time, cried when we told him about his sister - more so because she got to have a sleepover and he didn’t. He also didn’t understand what leukemia was.

After 2 1/2 years of chemo treatment backed by CureSearch, Kennedy had her port removed and the chemo ended. One of the greatest gifts CureSearch gave Kennedy was the lack of cyclines in her trial. The standard leukemia treatment included cycline therapy, which has been known to damage the heart. Because of Kennedy’s risk level and the random protocol she received, her long-term effects of the chemo are less severe.

On February 2, 2017, Kennedy celebrated her “cure” date from cancer, and she became our forever superhero.

While Kennedy was in treatment, we fundraised for the CureSearch Chicago Walk and helped raise awareness for the organization, we are back at it again.  So many kids weren't as lucky as Kennedy and organizations like, the American Cancer Society or Leukemia and Lymphoma Society are great but the funds don't go directly to childhood cancer research (only about 4% does).

The problem is that children’s cancer can’t be treated like adult cancers because most of the treatments can be toxic to a child’s body, damaging their organs, mental health and more. To treat childhood cancer, specialized protocols are needed - like the lack of cyclines in Kennedy’s protocol.

We believe in CureSearch, not just because of Kennedy’s amazing outcome, but because every dollar donated goes toward funding lifesaving research!  Come out and walk with us or donate to an incredible cause!

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CureSearch for Childrens Cancer

4600 East West Highway, Suite 600, Bethesda, MD 20814
erin.richey@curesearch.org | (240) 235-2272