Are you a cancer fighter?
Do you have a sport you love and drive’s you every day?
If yes, your heart, passion and will to survive is something we want to help facilitate.
Tell us how KICKcancER can help take your dreams to the next level.
Our Amazing KICKcancER Athletes
Age at Diagnosis: 2
"Austin was not even 3 years old when he started acting differently, not eating well, crying a lot, sleeping more...we chalked it up to recent changes in his routine, teething, and stress in the family with the passing of my grandmother.
He developed an infection inside of his nose and took antibiotics and started to get back to normal, but not quite. We went on a family vacation with my extended family, and he was tired and a bit pale but had no fever or anything else.
The day after we arrived at the destination, we noticed that he was just not doing well. He was even paler and wouldn't walk. Thinking that the infection hadn't been cleared up, we headed to the nearest urgent care. While there, he deteriorated and basically stopped talking, watching us with big eyes. The urgent care doctor panicked when she saw him and sent us right to the ER.
The ER ran many tests and then discovered that his level of oxygen in his blood was extremely dangerously low--they hadn't seen anyone alive with it so low. So, Austin and I won a ride in a helicopter to the nearest hospital with an ICU while he got his first blood transfusion in the air.
That first hospital couldn't find anything just in his blood and got him stable enough to drive home with no stops to spend a few days in our local children's hospital for further testing to see if he needed treatment. Everyone suspected leukemia, but it wasn't showing up in his blood. He got several transfusions in that week between the two hospitals and had many tests run. They tested his bone marrow, and it was also negative for leukemia. We went home.
Many weeks of staying away from people and germs while checking labs and running tests for all sorts of viruses, genetic issues, etc. began. Everything was negative. Eventually his blood counts returned to normal levels, without any transfusions after that first week. The oncologist was ready to discharge him from returning to see her. We made one more appointment just to be sure. Austin returned to daycare, and I went back to work after 6 weeks of being at home.
A week before the appointment, some symptoms I had been warned about started showing up. Back to the oncologist we went. Within 4 days, we had a diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia and ended up in the hospital for 6 weeks with lots of complications with the first round of treatment.
Austin got infection after infection and came very close to losing his leg to a potentially fatal fungal infection. He had 3 surgeries on his right thigh to remove the fungus and the dead tissue that was being eaten. He had stitches in it for 3 months afterwards. He then had to learn to walk again at 3 years of age.
Now, at 3 years and 4 months from when the whole nightmare started, Austin is in his Kindergarten year--third year in school--and RUNNING EVERY DAY! He runs any chance he gets. He has wanted to play soccer forever, but it was not possible with the intense monthly treatments he has been going through for the last 2.5 years...the first year was the most intense but monthly IV chemotherapy and steroids along with daily chemotherapy made a sport seem like too much.
Well earlier this year, a study came out that made it possible to reduce the frequency of the IV chemo and steroids and his oncologist gave him the green light to get playing soccer! He's loving every minute and showing off his natural talent!! Thanks to the support of KICKCancER, he is now playing soccer every week and forgetting about the huge challenges he has overcome."
Age at Diagnosis: 11
"Jaedyn Hendryx was born in June 2004 in Modesto, CA. Her parents are Jeremy and Antoinette Hendryx. She has two younger sisters Mia (9) and Lauren (8). Jaedyn has lived in Ripon, CA. since 2009.
Jaedyn started playing tennis at the age of 5 at the local community courts. She immediately started to show interest, and her coach kept moving her up in age groups. By the time she was 8, she was practicing about 8 hours a week at the University of Pacific. She started playing USTA tournaments and started to love the competition.When Jaedyn was 9, she was invited to an international tournament in Denver, Colorado at the Air Force Academy. She met other players the same age as her, and she had a wonderful week of tennis. When she was 10, she was among the top ten 10-year-old players in NorCal. This gave her the chance to represent NorCal in the 10 Zonals tournament in Las Vegas. When Jaedyn turned 11, her tennis started to suffer; we were not sure if she was burnt out or if it was nerves. Then, she started to get sick, over and over, the flu, infections, etc.
On January 13, 2016, a trip to the local ER room changed our lives. She was diagnosed with ALL. We were transferred to Oakland Children’s Hospital immediately, and Jaedyn began her treatments there. Her journey was 2.5 years. She finished her last treatment on April 25, 2018, at the age of 13. She lost the years of 11-13 to Leukemia.
She tried her hardest to keep friendships, go to school and play tennis, but it was a huge struggle. Jaedyn had many challenges throughout her treatment: a severe blood infection with over a week in ICU, a 26-day stay due to a severe infection in her neck, a picc line due to infection in her port that had to be removed and just when we were in maintenance, you think you can catch a break, but no, Jaedyn contracted Pneumonia and stayed in the hospital another 8 days. She was homeschooled for a year and a half if we add it all up. She only went to tennis practice maybe 3 times in 2.5 years, and friendship’s fizzled out. She ended her treatment just before graduating from 8th grade, and she had been diagnosed in 6th grade.
Jaedyn grew up a lot during that time, and it made her a beautiful, strong young woman. She has been back in tennis for a year now and is playing every day. She is a freshman in high school, and she chose to be homeschooled so she can play tennis four hours a day to “catch up”. Her goal is to obtain a full-ride athletic tennis scholarship to Stanford. This has been her dream since age 5. Jaedyn takes honors courses and has a 4.2 GPA this year. She is one amazing young woman!"
Age at Diagnosis: 6
"Mackenzie has been snowboarding since she learned to stand, not even a year old the first time she strapped on her first board in Lake Tahoe. She was trying to keep up with her 3 older siblings who are also competitive snowboarders, and collectively 11x USA National Champions.
When Mackenzie was diagnosed with cancer, she was ripped away from her active life of snowboarding, skateboarding, surfing and just being a crazy, funny, silly 3 year old kid. At diagnosis, she had all cancer cells in her marrow...no normal cells. So, she went from being the most spunky toddler we had ever met to bed ridden and too weak to stand.
A month or two into her treatment, the folks of Make a Wish Foundation asked us to discuss with Kenzie her wishes and dreams. The first thing she said to us, with nearly a whisper and too weak to stand due to the dexamethasone, chemo and cancer crippling her body, was 'I wanna go snowboarding'."
Age at Diagnosis: 6
"Raynie is 8 years old, and the youngest of 4 sisters. She also has a puppy named, Millie, who is her best friend. Raynie started taking gymnastics shortly before being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in December of 2018. We had waited to put her in active sports until she had completely healed from her open heart surgery in June of 2017.
During cancer treatments, Raynie's counts were too low and her body just didn’t work the same as it once did, so we had to put gymnastics on hold. She would literally watch every story posted by her coach on Instagram, and she would comment about how she couldn’t wait to go back. When her doctor finally gave her the go ahead when her treatments reached maintenance, Raynie sobbed. She was so happy. Thanks to the KICKcancER Athletes grant, we are able to get her back to gym without the financial worry of how to pay the monthly tuition!!"
Age at Diagnosis: 12
Cancer: Astrocytoma Brain Cancer
"Jacob is 13 years old and has been playing baseball for several years. He lives and breathes the game. When he isn't at practice, he's at home working on his swing and his throws.
Life threw him a major curveballs last year, when he was diagnosed with Astrocytoma brain cancer. He has 2 tumors in his brain. The first thing he said when the doctor told him was "Can I still play ball?"
He refuses to let cancer win. He goes out on that field for every practice and game, and he pours his heart and soul into it. He has big dreams of playing in the major league someday! He wants to show other kids that just because they have been diagnosed with something terrifying, it doesn't mean it has to control your life. Just get out there and smash cancer into the outfield!"
Age at Diagnosis: 11
Cancer: Wilms Tumor Relapse
"After 23 months of unemployment and barely hanging on to our home, Ava was diagnosed with stage 5 Bilateral Wilms on Father’s Day 2011. Ava lost her left kidney and part of her right and completed 6 months of chemo including 6 rounds of radiation to her partial remaining kidney.
When Ava was diagnosed with a cancer relapse in January, it was one week before their first competition. Ava was heartbroken. She so badly wanted us to postpone her surgery to remove the tumor on her kidney but there was no way we could do that — we couldn’t give cancer any additional time to grow. After recovering from surgery and beginning treatment, Ava’s oncologist told her if she was feeling up to it, then she could compete in an upcoming competition. Sadly, the studio owner, who had agreed to honor a scholarship arrangement for Ava and Emma by the previous owner, no longer wanted to support them after learning of Ava’s relapse diagnosis and ended up kicking Ava and her sister off the team and out of the studio. Ava and Emma were devastated but Ava was not going to let this stop her. She was determined to dance, no matter what. Her older sister, Emma, stepped up and said, 'If Ava wants to compete, then she’ll compete. I’ll choreograph her a new solo and make her costume and she WILL compete'. And that’s exactly what these two girls did.
Within 10 days, we found a competition that allowed Ava to be a late entry, Emma made a costume and choreographed a new piece, and Ava learned and competed “Game of Survival” as an Independent Dancer. Ava won 1st in her category, 1st overall and a 5 star elite score (highest score of the day). That was just the beginning. Since then, Ava and Emma continue to compete their solos and have choreographed and competed an incredible duet as independent entries and are currently in the process of choreographing additional duets and solos they want to compete. Wherever they go, there are countless people who approach Ava and tell her what an inspiration she is to all kids battling cancer or fighting through their own journey. Ava wants to give hope to others and encourage others to never give up and to follow your dreams, as best you can.
Ava has bravely battled cancer a second time with determination unlike what I’ve ever seen. Her oncologist and entire oncology team are in awe of her ability to push through this extremely harsh treatment protocol and continue to practice and compete at such a high level. At these competitions, she is constantly approached by other dancers and told of how much she inspires them. Ava wants to continue to inspire other kids battling cancer to continue pursuing their passion to the best of their ability through treatment.
Dance means the world to Ava — to both girls. Dance is the reason Ava shows no significant deformation in her lower back muscles from her radiation treatments. It gives her something to take her away from all the crap she’s going through. It truly is an escape for both girls. Unfortunately, dance is very expensive and the combination of 23 months of unemployment and 2 cancer diagnoses’ has almost bankrupted us. There is no money available to cover dance expenses. With the studio owners pulling the girls' scholarship agreement, we are unable to finance dance at the level Ava and Emma need to be. There is a studio that had allowed the girls to take classes until the end of June, but at this point, we are at a crossroad. We have to find a way to keep these girls dancing and allow them to follow their dreams. And we cannot let cancer rip away the dreams these two girls have built together.
As you know, cancer doesn’t just impact the cancer patient, it impacts the entire family, especially siblings. Ava and Emma desperately want to continue dance training and compete on a team or as independents. But, this will only be possible with the generosity and help of an organization like KICKcancER. We are including the costs associated with competing on the dance team, including monthly class fees, costumes, competition entry fees and travel expenses. We would be extremely grateful for any assistance towards these expenses to support their dreams and take them to the next level in the world of dance."