Haddonfield Memorial High School science teacher in the fight of his life
Community rallies around Kidd after glioblastoma diagnosis
Haddonfield Memorial High School science teacher and father to three Griffin Kidd was recently diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. The community has rallied in short order to aid his cause.
Brooke Lemchak has been a friend to Kidd’s wife, Carrie Rupnow-Kidd, since they first met in graduate school at Temple University more than 15 years ago. So moved by her friend’s family’s plight, Lemchak created a GoFundMe page on Jan. 27 to help cover what is expected to be significant cost of treatment.
“I sang with a choir of friends in their wedding, and I am godmother to Dahlia, their second-born. Neither of them have family close by, but they have created a family of friends in their communities, and I am blessed to be a part of that family,” Lemchak said.
According to his wife, Griffin — after feeling numbness on his left side for some time — was at work one day, and the numbness had worsened to the point that it was affecting his ability to concentrate on teaching. So he took himself to urgent care, which referred him straight to an emergency department.
Within a couple days, he was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor, located in the thalamus, which is usually thought to be inoperable. The tumor presented atypically and the initial pathology reports were inconclusive. However, after more than two weeks of waiting, they received reports that it was glioblastoma.
Since the diagnosis, the Kidds have been meeting with doctors, receiving several different expert opinions, and are devising a plan for treatment. They are waiting for additional pathology reports to determine best treatment and which clinical trials will be appropriate and will predictably give him the best outcomes.
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive cancer that begins inside the brain. Average lifespan after initial diagnosis and treatment, according to American Brain Tumor Association, is approximately 11 to 15 months. It most recently struck long-time Arizona Sen. John McCain, who died last August after a 13-month battle.
On Feb. 6, Haddonfield Memorial High School was to participate in a “Takedown Cancer” event, sponsored by its wrestling team, benefiting the Griffin Kidd Family Foundation. Students, faculty and staff were encouraged to purchase Haddonfield merchandise in the school cafeteria at lunch and then wear it to the “Thunderdome” when the Bulldawgs wrestled Oakcrest that night in the sectional semifinal.
In the first 10 days since its creation, Lemchak’s GoFundMe managed to raise more than 80 percent of its stated goal of $50,000. She said there actually is no time limit or monetary limit on the fundraising effort because of a host of variables.
“We have no idea what the financial impact of this illness will be on this family. I set an arbitrary goal of $50,000 for the GoFundMe, but there is no way to predict what the actual financial need will be,” she said.
“The best clinical trials could end up being across the country. We just don’t know yet. My main goal was to begin to help lighten the load for Carrie and Griffin. Griffin needs all of the emotional and mental energy he can muster up to fight this cancer, and does not need to worry about how he will be able to make ends meet.”
The Kidds have already been able to use a portion of the donations to hire a nutritional consultant service specific to glioblastoma.
“Until this cancer is gone, we will continue to find ways to support the Kidd family. There is a core group of this ‘family’ who are organizing efforts to support Griffin. Meal trains, child coverage, and transportation to/from treatment are being organized. Ideas for different fundraisers are in the works, so stay tuned,” Lemchak added.
Kidd’s GoFundMe can be found here: https://www.gofundme.com/griffinkiddfoundation.