Kim’s Hope will demonstrate the love of Christ by raising and distributing funds directly to families facing a diagnosis of glioblastoma to allow for the best possible care of the patient, and the best environment of care for the patient and caregiver. In their time of need, Kim’s Hope will help alleviate some of the financial stress points so the patient and their caregiver(s) can focus their attention on treatment, care, and recovery.
Kim lived on the west side of Portland, OR with her husband Todd. Her son Jared (Carpenter) and his wife Alaina also live in Portland, and her daughter Amanda (Carpenter) attended school at Willamette University in Salem, OR where she was pursuing her MBA.
Kim’s immediate family also lived within close enough proximity to have frequent family gatherings to celebrate birthdays and holidays, many of which were organized by Kim. She worked for Mercer Health & Benefits for almost 30 years, was an active member in Oak Hills Christian Church, and an avid supporter of Jared and Amanda and their sports teams.
Through all these activities, Kim came to be friends with many people, and everyone she met always felt as if they were the most important person in the world at that time because of the kindness and genuine interest Kim always displayed.
On Christmas Eve day of 2019, after not feeling “right” for several weeks Kim was disoriented and nauseous, so we decided to take her to an urgent care clinic. A neurologic exam revealed what they thought were signals of a stroke, and Kim was taken immediately by ambulance to St. Vincent’s Hospital for immediate evaluation. A CT scan revealed no sign of a stroke but did show a 3cm mass located near her thalamus that the doctors immediately suspected was going to be proven to be glioblastoma. A biopsy the following week confirmed our fears, and further pathologic analysis revealed stage 4 GBM.
Because of the location of the tumor, it was deemed to be too risky to have surgery, so we decided to begin our journey with standard of care radiation and chemotherapy, combined with the use of a device called Optune to try and keep the tumor from growing. Kim tolerated the treatments very well, other than Optune which burned her scalp severely due to the use as part of clinical trial using the device in conjunction with radiation and the trauma to the scalp the radiation caused as well.
We celebrated numerous MRI scans that were stable until October 2020 when it was determined that her primary tumor had grown by about 30%. With this growth, it was imperative to have surgery to remove some of the tumor, so Kim had a “total” resection in late October of 2020, where about 90% of her tumor was removed.
Unfortunately, there was also some permanent nerve damage which caused Kim to lose function of her left side and spend about 4 weeks at an inpatient therapy center to focus on regaining some of her strength before she would be able to return home. Kim was highly motivated to move back home as soon as possible, and approached her therapies (PT, OT, and Speech) very aggressively and was able to return to her home on November 25, the day before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Although she was unable to navigate the stairs without significant help, which necessitated a hospital bed being brought in, she was very happy to be home where she could see her family members, her beloved dog Carly, and live in the comfortable surroundings she was used to.
Following her surgery, Kim started taking a different kind of chemotherapy, and an additional targeted treatment based on a gene mutation of her tumor which kept things stable between November and June 2021.
In June however, an MRI revealed Kim’s primary tumor was growing again, and to further complicate things, she had developed leptomeningeal disease. The cancer had spread into her cerebrospinal fluid which circulates around the entire brain and spinal cord, making it very difficult to control further spread of the disease.
We changed treatment course again starting yet another treatment (Avastin) to try to stop things from getting worse. However, Kim developed further symptoms in early July, after only one series of this treatment, and was placed on hospice care July 9, 2021.
Kim fought hard the entire time she had glioblastoma, but eventually it became too much, and she went to her heavenly home on August 13, 2021.
Kim’s faith in God remained strong the entire time, and in many ways the hope she had in a future with Jesus Christ in Heaven is what kept her going. Kim leaned into her faith during the 19+ month battle with GBM, and God delivered for her with the comfort and peace of knowing her destiny would be to spend eternity praising him.
Kim’s positive attitude, fighting spirit, and eternal hope of a future that would be better than anything she experienced here on earth kept her and the rest of “Team Kim” thinking as positively as possible despite her situation.
The hope that Kim displayed was so much more than a wish, or a desire for something to happen, she displayed the biblical hope that is an expectation, with all confidence that her salvation was guaranteed by Jesus. For her, this was a moral certainty, and she held tightly to the expectation of great things to come.
Kim’s Hope seeks to provide this same assurance and hope to others fighting against glioblastoma. It is our primary goal to serve patients and families by providing financial support to ensure the best possible care for the patient in whatever stage of care they are in.
Whether at the beginning of the battle, or nearing the end, we seek to enable the patient and their caretakers to make the best possible decisions regardless of financial impact. Your financial support of our organization allows us to offer aid to more families that are in need.
To allow all glioblastoma patients to receive the highest quality of care in the environment of their choice throughout their journey. Increasing the general awareness about glioblastoma and helping fund research that leads to better treatments and an eventual cure for this debilitating disease.
Laura worked with Kim for nearly 30 years and became one of her closest personal friends through their shared faith, a love of family/friends, and a heart for helping others.