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Published: Thursday, 4/3/2014 - Updated: 5 months ago

Fund-raiser set for Perrysburg softball player Kayleen Jurski

Surgery done to address rare form of cancer

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Kayleen Jurski Kayleen Jurski
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Kayleen Jurski had her lungs deflated, tubes in her chest, and then tumors were removed during a successful surgery for her rare lung cancer on March 21.

After the Perrysburg High School senior spent five days sleeping at the Cleveland Clinic, she was able to go home and has been crashing on the recliner, "because that is the only thing that is comfy right now."

On Saturday there will be a fund-raiser at Lutheran Church of the Master at 28744 Simmons Rd. in Perrysburg from 4 until 10 p.m. to help raise money for her and her family. After coughing up blood in the fall and seeking answers in several hospitals for a few months, it was found the 18 -year-old had an extremely rare cancer called an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor, or IMT. 

The star softball player is missing her final season in high school while recovering from surgery, but that didn't stop her from following online her friends play the first scrimmage of the season on Monday.

"They played good," the young Jurski said. "It was really good to watch it on game channel. That will really help me."

After following along as a player's father updated his scoring iPad app, she sent a text to the players saying how proud she was of the team and told them to do big things.

The fund-raiser on Saturday is being organized by softball coach Ryan DeMars and his wife Beckie DeMars. There will be a silent auction, raffles, T-shirt sale, bake sale, and more with all of the proceeds being donated.

"They have been so helpful," the young Jurski said. "It is really awesome to have that support."

Mrs. DeMars said the outpouring of support changed the small event at her house to a large fund-raiser at the church. The bake sale is being helped by Northview softball players.

"She's family," she said. "We spend so much time with them, she's played on three of Ryan's summer teams with weekend games from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. They are not just softball players; they are family."

The young Jurski said the support has gone past donations. When she got her phone back a day after surgery she found photo after photo of people wearing T-shirts for her and wearing purple supporting her. And the rock outside Perrysburg High School with KJStrong painted on it.

Whitmer and Fremont Ross both have a softball player who has changed their number to 15 for their senior seasons to support Jurski.

When the surgery was pushed back to March 21, returning to school during his senior year was in doubt. But now she is hoping to get back to school sometime around mid-May. While her teammates are playing and practicing during spring break, the medicine has kept Kayleen on her recliner watching shows. But she is not complaining.

"I'll take this over pain," she said. "I'm so tired because of the pain meds. I'm sleeping a lot and watching a lot of TV."

She is still expected to graduate on time.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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