At Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (PCRF), we want to make it possible for all children facing childhood cancer to beat their disease and achieve their full potential so they can realize happy, healthy, productive futures.
Kenny Thomas, a brave, funny, compassionate, and determined young man embodies this vision. He is also a cancer survivor, warrior and advocate who started his next chapter, as a cancer-free college freshman at Michigan State University this past Fall.
Here’s Kenny’s story and how PCRF helped him on this journey to a future free from cancer.
Kenny was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 2012 at eight years old. He received treatment under the care of Dr. Theodore Moore at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, one of the leading U.S. children’s hospitals – and one of the key institutions where PCRF has provided funding to support pioneering work in the treatment of childhood cancer. At UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, Kenny beat his cancer and became an advocate for innovative pediatric cancer research.
After two years of treatment, Kenny went into remission and never looked back. He became a champion and spokesperson for PCRF’s “Dribble For Victory Over Cancer”, which directly supports research at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, while celebrating pediatric cancer warriors alongside athletes, the medical community, families, and supporters. Earlier, in 2014-2015, Kenny also served as a National Ambassador for Hyundai, “Hope On Wheels”, traveling throughout the country speaking about his experience with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and bringing attention to the need for pediatric cancer research funding.
In June, Kenny graduated from high school, and began Michigan State University this past Fall. He plans to major in business and ultimately pursue a law degree, eyeing a future in sports management. While at Michigan State, Kenny will also benefit from receiving PCRF’s Survivor’s Scholarship, which eases the struggle young cancer survivors face as they transition to either a two-year or four-year college. These scholarships help not only with the financial strain of college, but equally important, give recipients a vote of confidence that their future is attainable and within reach.
As Kenny noted in his Survivorship Scholarship application, “Cancer doesn’t define me. It has informed my journey. I know the importance of giving back. I recognize the gifts of grit, determination, perseverance, compassion, optimism, and hope.”
At PCRF, we share Kenny’s hope, perseverance, and optimism for a future where all kids who face a cancer diagnosis can look forward to a healthy future with limitless opportunities to achieve their dreams.