In the summer of 2016, Danielle Kemp was a Foran alumni and Stony Brook softball player. After getting hit in the head with a softball one day, the doctors diagnosed her with just a concussion. When her condition worsened an MRI showed that she had a tumor the size of a tennis ball in an inoperable region of her brain. The doctors then diagnosed her with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, one of the most difficult forms of brain cancer to treat. After battling for a short 7 months, Danni’s battle sadly ended, passing away at the age of just 19 on March 10, 2017.
Her parents Clifford and Melinda have now put their whole lives towards awareness and a cure for DIPG. “We are working to raise funds to help researchers and doctors that are working on finding a cure for DIPG specifically. Of all the funds raised for cancer annually, only 4% is dedicated to pediatric cancers. Of that 4%, a very small amount goes to ‘DIPG’. It equates to about $150,000 per year. This amount will never find a cure and everyone diagnosed with this cancer will not survive. So families like ours across the country are fundraising for the home run cure. ‘The Danni Kemp Cancer Support Fund’ is a partner of the ‘Cure Starts Now’, and the DIPG Collaborative. These organizations work to fund researchers and doctors working specifically on ‘DIPG’.”
“Also the Sound Tigers on ‘wipe out cancer weekend’. In April we participated at Stony Brook University in the annual ‘Danni Kemp Scholarship fundraiser’. We have the current 5K event in May, and in November there is a softball clinic run at the Yale University softball facility on behalf of Danni and her cancer support fund. These 4 events are what we currently do to raise awareness, honor Danni, and raise funds for everything we need to do.”
In addition, the Foran softball team is hosting a “Heart of the Lion Wiffle ball tournament”, to also help fund the foundation. “We were asked about the event and felt it was a great idea. It’s fun, the softball team helps organize it which keeps honoring Danni’s name for future years to come.” “The event will keep the students of the school and younger Milford area kids aware of this disease. The additional funds raised will help us help more families as well as help fund to find a cure.”
The softball team has dedicated the new turf softball field in honor if Danni, who was a Foran softball alumni. Her parents agree that, “The field is an incredible tribute to Danni. The timing of the field being reconstructed this spring makes it even better. We are going to try and have the dedication of the field, the 5K run/walk, and Wiffle ball tournament all on the same day next spring! This will be the biggest combined event to date. Danni had a passion for all sports, but softball was her true love. She would be very honored having this field named after her and it means a tremendous amount to myself and my family.“ Those interested in either event are invited to participate May 18, 2019 at Foran HS.