When Jordan was diagnosed with a brain tumor and required emergency surgery and treatment in Seattle, the Benefis Foundation’s Angel Fund supported his family so they could focus on Jordan’s care.
When Jordan Kleinhans of Great Falls was 11 years old, he began having frequent headaches, sensitivity to light, and excessive fatigue. A CT scan revealed a heartbreaking discovery—there was a dime-sized tumor in the middle of his brain, and his brain was filling with fluid.
The pressure on Jordan’s brain was critically dangerous. He and his mother, Maxine Nakai, were immediately flown by Benefis Mercy Flight to Seattle Children’s Hospital where Jordan was rushed straight to surgery.
During surgery, Jordan’s tumor was biopsied and a burr hole was created to drain the fluid from his brain. Jordan was diagnosed with pineal germinoma, a germ cell tumor.
Maxine was not expecting Jordan’s condition to be so severe, let alone require an emergency flight and lengthy stay in Seattle.
“You can’t begin to imagine how it feels when you must leave suddenly, not at all prepared to go out of state, and you have but a few dollars on you,” said Maxine. “You want to worry about your sick child, not about money.”
The Benefis Foundation’s Angel Fund offers assistance to local families just like Jordan’s—families with no choice but to leave unexpectedly and often on very short notice to get the medical care they so desperately need.
Jordan’s father, Bill, received a check from the Angel Fund the very next day, which helped cover the cost of gas and lodging as he joined his family in Seattle.
Jordan’s health abruptly took a turn for the worse when he developed meningitis. The chemotherapy treatments that he direly needed were put on hold for two weeks as he received intravenous antibiotics.
During those fourteen days, Jordan’s brain tumor grew to the size of a half dollar, and he lost vision in one eye.
He also experienced complications from the burr hole, so a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt was placed in his brain, which Jordan will have the rest of his life.
Once Jordan recovered from the meningitis, he was finally able to begin his cancer treatment regimen. Jordan endured multiple chemotherapy treatments and dozens of proton radiation therapy sessions in Seattle over the course of six months.
Throughout the horrendous turn of events, Jordan’s family was grateful to be able to remain by his side. “The Angel Fund helped with more than just the basics of meals, gas, and rooms. It helped put a smile and laughter on my son’s face,” Maxine said.
Since Jordan’s brain tumor was discovered five years ago, his family has traveled from Great Falls to Seattle dozens of times for emergency surgeries, additional treatments, and follow-up tests and appointments. Thanks to help from the Angel Fund, Jordan’s family was with him every step of the way.
“There is so much good that comes from the Angel Fund. It is truly a blessing.”
– Maxine Nakai
Jordan, now a healthy 16-year-old, was just declared cancer free in early August 2018. Hundreds of children in our own community suffer from catastrophic illnesses every year. Since the Angel Fund was established in 1999, more than 1,200 families have been helped.
With support from the community, the Angel Fund will continue to help cover the costs of travel and lodging when a child’s treatment takes their family far from home. Every contribution, no matter the size, will help local families with the tremendous financial strain of caring for a seriously ill child.
Please donate to the Angel Fund online today by visiting the Benefis Foundation website at https://www.benefis.org/benefis-foundation/angelfund.
Your support will help sick children who must travel out of town to receive specialized care. Make a gift today and help make a family’s journey easier to bear.
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