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From Heartbreak to Hope

Wish dad Ed Kimpel shares his family’s story.

Life had been fairly tame for our small family until the fall of 2015. 

Everything seemed ideal. I was teaching in the local middle/high schools, we had three little boys, and had just completed building a new home in Clifton, Idaho. Things began to change when our oldest son, Jack, began complaining of intense headaches while at school. At first, the doctors had no idea what was going on. In November, the headaches escalated. While at the doctor’s office, he lost all control over his speech. A CT scan was ordered that changed our lives. Our son had a cancerous brain tumor (medulloblastoma). The next several years he endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapies and recurrences. One year after Jack’s diagnosis, I was diagnosed with metastatic colon cancer with similar treatments. 

With life being so chaotic, time to fit in things like vacations was very limited. In August 2017, treatment schedules opened up and we were able to visit Give Kids The World Village. After the stress and chaos of treatments, the break was a godsend! We were able to put everything aside while enjoying time at Disney, Universal Studios and LEGOLAND. For a time, we were just a normal family on vacation. The Village was magical, with the staff and volunteers doing everything they could to make our trip perfect and memorable. There were SO many little things in place to make the experience just that much more special; we couldn’t believe it. 

In retrospect, we wish we would have just spent a quiet day simply enjoying GKTW rather than doing so much sightseeing.  Since our trip, treatments have continued. Jack is currently stable and working his way through middle school. My cancer is under control, though I am currently on weekly chemotherapy. The entire family frequently speaks of our time at Give Kids The World, and wish we lived closer. Though the distance prevents it, we would love to serve as volunteers and to pay the kindness we experienced forward.


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