Community Rallies Behind Swartz Creek High Student Battling Brain Cancer
As most of us celebrated the holidays and rang in the new year, the family of 16-year-old Randy Klomp stayed by his side as he continued to fight for his life.
Editor's Note, Mrs. Sulkowski's comments have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Meet Randy Klomp
Randy is a 10th grade student at Swartz Creek High School who loves boating, football, camping, video games, and baseball. In fact, he eats, sleeps, and dreams baseball, and has aspirations to become a professional baseball player. He'd been training at Prime Time in Waterford and has played on a local recreation league as well as Swartz Creek and Lake Fenton's school teams.
In an interview with Townsquare Media, his mother Tammy Sulkowski said, "I can't say I know anyone that would work harder to get to the top than Randy."
But Randy's life changed in December of last year shortly after he completed driver's training and got his level-one license.
Diagnosed With a Rare Form of Cancer
Randy's world stood still when his doctor delivered the news: Randy was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma subtype 4, a tumor that develops in the brain and is known to spread quickly. Sulkowski notes that her son is one of about 600 kids in the United States battling this rare form of cancer.
He has since spent 30 days at University of Michigan Children's hospital, undergoing a 13-hour surgery to remove the tumor. Doctors were able to remove 99 percent of the mass, and while the surgery was considered a success, a lumbar puncture later revealed that Randy's spinal fluid still contains cancerous cells.
He is now relearning how to speak, eat, and swallow. He currently suffers memory loss and double vision but doctors remain optimistic that his vision will eventually correct itself.
A Daily Regimen of Chemo and Radiation
While Randy's peers are going to school and looking forward to prom, his routine includes radiation and chemotherapy five days per week as well as physical therapy and speech therapy three days each week. He'll get a two-week break before beginning another round of chemo which is expected to last six months.
Community Rallies to Support Randy & His Family
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Randy and his family with medical expenses. Sulkowski and Randy's father have been by his side during his battle, and she says they're grateful for the generosity shown by her son's school family and the Swartz Creek community.
"My heart is shattered as I watch my baby deal with this senseless disease," she said. "Without the donations and support, I don’t know how I’d financially be able to see that Randy would receive his care."
Sulkowski goes on to say that she has tremendous faith in God and believes that her son has a bright future in front of him. Doctors say that Randy still has a long way to go, but remain cautiously optimistic that he can make a full recovery.
"Our life’s have been put on hold but I'm still grateful for every second I get with him," she said. "In Randy's words, 'I just want to play Ball.'"
Here is the link to the GoFundMe page that has been established in Randy Klomp's honor.
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