B-A grad shares story of a daughter with DIPG


Malia Danish

Kim Koll, who graduated from Bellwood-Antis in 1990, helped kick off the THON fundraising drive with an emotional story about her daughter Addison, who died from a form of brain cancer in 2013.

Ashlyn Ball, Staff Writer

Kim Holl, a 1990 Bellwood-Antis High School graduate, came back to the school last week to talk about her emotional experience when her daughter, Addison Grace Holl, was diagnosed with a type of brain cancer.

It was part of an assembly to kick off the mini-THON committee’s main fundraising drive heading into the THON event in March.

In 2011, Addison Holl was diagnosed with DIPG, an incurable cancer of the brain. It’s the same disease that took the life of Myers second grader Madison Shura two years ago.

Holl and her three daughters live in Mechanicsburg, which is close to Hershey, where one of the top 50 childhood cancer centers is located.

During one of Addison’s appointments, her oncologist told Kim about The Four Diamonds, an organization that provides financial assistance for families dealing with childhood cancer.

With Four Diamonds, 100% of Addison’s medical bills were paid after each treatment. They also even covered the experimental treatments she went through that insurance wouldn’t.  With all this help the Holl family had received, they were able to “focus on making her well,” Mrs. Holl said.

Mrs. Holl said every family helped by Four Diamonds was given a social worker and child life specialist during chemo at Hershey.  She shared a memory of when Addison’s music therapist sang to Addison after each of her chemotherapies.  She had even written a song for Addison.

Since 1972, The Four Diamonds have helped 4,000 families who have a child fighting cancer.

Sadly, pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under fifteen, but they only get 4% federal funding.  “Without research we will not change the stats of childhood cancer,” Mrs. Holl said.

Mrs. Holl ended her presentation with, “My daughter was only here eight short years. With your help, I believe we can change this (for other families).”

Ms. Holl’s story  touched everybody who was listening in the auditorium.

Brandie Ray, THON Chair for Community, commented “It went well.  She really engaged the students.  People understood her, and they got it”.