Meet Difference Maker: Jack Klein
Jack was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in Spring 2015 and started treatment at Riley Children's Hospital. He was a brave and trusting patient. After five rounds of chemo his response was promising, but the lymphoma spread aggressively. In the fall of 2015 he went to New York to participate in a clinical trial at Maria Ferari Children's Hospital. His treatment included more chemo, radiation, and a stem cell transplant. Throughout his treatment, Jack faced the days with good humor. He developed a love of cooking, honed his video-gaming skills, and continued to find fun in his circumstances.
Losing Jack to the aggressive spread of his lymphoma to his brain was a heartbreaking blow to his family and scores of supporters known as "Jack's Pack." We want to honor Jack by providing support to the important work of researchers with St. Baldrick's. We have seen the impact of cancer on families and want to know that the future will be brighter.
A Message from Jack's Family
Friends—It's been awhile since we've sent an update. Jack's 12th birthday is October 5 and we continue to hold Jack close to our hearts and to rely on your support to survive.
Jack should be in the "middle school hall" with his friends and playing Sidener baseball alongside his brother Matthew and close friends. Instead we find ourselves missing him in moments big and moments small. We remember how coach Fred nicknamed him Crazy Train and imagine his silly antics on the baseball diamond. We wish he could make his signature cross-eyed funny faces for his cousins who will instead know Jack's personality through photos and stories. Let me share a few things we are doing to celebrate Jack.
As part of Jack's legacy and our own healing, we have continued to work with St. Baldrick's to raise funds and awareness for Pediatric Cancer Research.. This year, that has included helping organize the annual head-shave at our parish school, St. Thomas Aquinas- a spirited event where we continue to see the bravery of our St. Thomas families and the solidarity offered by our community. Rebecca and Sally also visited Capitol Hill this spring to advocate for emerging legislation to support research and survivors. Finally, John spearheaded a group of loving friends along with our generous Broad Ripple Haverford Little League in our 2nd "Brave the Shave" with the league. The event was tremendously successful and (waiting on some matching dollars) we expect it will top $100,000. All of those funds will allow continued funding for Dr.Lisa Roth at Cornell Medical Center through St. Baldrick's. We are so grateful to have St. Baldrick's as a partner in our efforts and continuously awed by the generosity of our family and friends- who have hustled, shaved, pitched to teams, swept up (lots of) hair, and raised so much money.
We all get goosebumps when we know of an act of kindness shared in Jack's name. It is comforting to hear about a book shared with an airplane seatmate, food and a homemade card for a family and their newborn child, monkeys by the wagon-load to kids in Indianapolis hospitals, even a classroom full of first graders hearing about Jack and passing along kindness in his name. In that spirit, we are inviting all of Jack's Pack to join us in a service project this Saturday, September 30. If you can come by and join us, we would love to have a hug and a smile. If you can't be there but want to participate, there is information on a toy drive below.
Thanks so much for being with us!
John, Rebecca, Ali and Matthew