Danielle “Danni” Kemp, a 19-year-old Stony Brook Softball player, is undergoing treatment for an inoperable, cancerous brain tumor.
According to Kemp’s GoFundMe page, the Milford, Connecticut native was pegged in the helmet by a summer league pitch in early July. In the ensuing days, Kemp struggled with focus, balance and dizziness. Doctors promptly conducted an MRI, expecting to find symptoms of a concussion.
But what they found was a tumor in the Pons region of her brain, the location rendering the tumor inoperable.
Kemp will miss the fall semester of school as she undergoes her radiation treatment which began on August 29 at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, also stated on the GoFundMe page. For six weeks, the treatment is being administered, five days a week, Monday through Friday.
Kemp’s post-radiation therapy treatment stratagem is still on the drawing board; her family hopes for the emergence of applicable clinical trials in the near future.
As of Saturday afternoon, Kemp’s GoFundMe page has raised over $109,000 from just over 1,350 donors. Several dozen Stony Brook athletes have donated to the fight, while softball programs across the country have as well.
“We are touched by the numerous well-wishes we have received over recent weeks,” Stony Brook Softball head coach, Megan Bryant, said in a statement received from Stony Brook’s Athletics Department. “The outpouring of support, love and compassion from everyone for Danni, her family and our team has been unbelievable. Danni is an outstanding young woman, respected teammate and loved member of our family. We will do everything in our power to make sure that Danni and her family do not have to fight this battle alone.”
On Twitter, the hashtags #DanniStrong and #DK23 have been circulated by Kemp’s teammates and fellow America East Conference softball programs, UMBC and Hartford.
Her plight gained such traction in the softball community, two-time Olympic softball pitcher Jennie Finch linked to Kemp’s GoFundMe page on her Twitter:
— Jennie Finch (@JennieFinch) September 7, 2016
Kemp was also the subject of the Sept. 8, 2016 edition of Stony Brook Athletic Director Shawn Heilbron’s weekly blog:
“So often we say that a situation such as this “puts things in perspective.” I wish that we could always maintain that perspective. In the rush of our daily lives we rarely stop to think about the things that are truly precious. Danni is precious to all of us, and as she battles this disease with everything that she has I ask you to please send her all of the positive energy that you can muster.”
This is not the leadoff hitter’s first medical curveball. The Ctpost.com reported that Kemp suffered from a rare kidney disease in high school, which Kemp alluded to in a recent Facebook post:
“I am a fighter and I have fought before. I recently went into remission with my kidney disease that I was diagnosed with in high school (also rare). I just figured the more prayers and positive thoughts I receive, the better I will be. I am a true believer in that God gives his toughest battles to his toughest soldiers.”
On Friday, Stony Brook sophomore catcher Irene Rivera, a classmate of Kemp’s, posted an image on Twitter of the Stony Brook Softball and Baseball teams wearing t-shirts dedicated to Kemp’s fight against cancer:
— irene. (@ireneriveraaaa6) September 23, 2016