Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Family appreciates support for teen cancer patient Kendall Bayne

Cave Spring High School student Kendall Bayne, who has cancer, is touched by support from the region.

Kendall Bayne (second from right) is hugged by an Alleghany High School cheerleader at Cave Spring High School's homecoming football game in September. The Alleghany cheerleaders told Kendall about the fundraisers that they've been running for her, and she thanked them.

Rebecca Barnett | The Roanoke Times

Kendall Bayne (second from right) is hugged by an Alleghany High School cheerleader at Cave Spring High School's homecoming football game in September. The Alleghany cheerleaders told Kendall about the fundraisers that they've been running for her, and she thanked them.

Whatever happened to...?

Looking back

Original coverage

Sept. 9, 2011

Recent updates on Kendall's progress

Kendall Bayne reacts as she’s sprayed with silly string during a Cave Spring football game in September.

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Team Kendall

Rebecca Barnett | The Roanoke Times

In many Southwest Virginia high schools -- where sports rivalries are as common as pop quizzes -- students this fall shed their school colors in exchange for purple.

Athletics teams from Rockbridge County to Radford have reached out to show support for Kendall Bayne, a 15-year-old former Cave Spring High School cheerleader who is undergoing treatment for lung cancer. The Radford High School Bobcats boys basketball teams recently sported purple Team Kendall T-shirts while warming up for the home game against Cave Spring.

The support stretching along the Interstate 81 corridor has overwhelmed Kendall and her family.

"It makes me feel like there was a reason I was chosen to be the one with this disease, to show that cancer can affect anyone," Kendall said. "I'm continually amazed with all this support and it gives me hope that I will not only beat cancer but inspire others along the way."

Just like many of the schools that have reached out to Kendall since her late August diagnosis, she didn't know many Radford students until she traveled there to thank the players for their support personally. She huddled with both Radford teams before the junior varsity game and wished the players luck against her school.

JV coach Jeff Little, a longtime friend of Kendall's father, coordinated the effort.

"For me, coaching a bunch of 15-year-olds and having a 15-year-old daughter, it hit home real close," Little said.

Kendall was diagnosed with secondary cancer in her lungs just days after the start of the current school year. She was first diagnosed with adrenocortical carcinoma in February. Six months later, the stage IV cancer aggressively moved to her lungs.

She has undergone one operation to remove tumors from her lungs and the second is scheduled for January.

Thousands of dollars have been raised and deposited into a bank account set up by one of Kendall's classmates and that student's mother. But it is the moral support from southwest Roanoke County and beyond that sustains the Bayne family.

"Team Kendall has kept me going on at night, that's for sure," said her father, Jere Bayne, an oncology drug sales representative.

Kendall's first surgery was Oct. 28 at Duke University. A cardiothoracic surgeon removed tumors her dad said were "smaller than a fingertip" and three wedge resections from the left lobes of her lungs during the five-hour procedure. Kendall spent a couple of days in the hospital, recovering uncomfortably with a chest tube inserted between her ribs to drain the space between the lung linings.

Kendall, the youngest patient in the adult thoracic unit at Duke, said she towed the drainage canister and intravenous pole on casters, as she walked laps day and night around the hospital halls to regain her strength.

An X-ray after the chest tube was removed showed the top of Kendall's lung was deflated. That kept her in the hospital an extra night and doctors were prepared to reinsert the tube, but Kendall wasn't having it.

"I walked 20 laps to get that lung working again," she said energetically.

The lung, which deflated because of a small leak near the site of a surgical staple, ultimately righted itself, according to Kendall's dad.

A follow-up CT scan in November showed no new disease.

"They're not growing, so that's a plus," Jere Bayne said.

Two small spots remain on Kendall's right lung. Her second surgery is scheduled for Jan. 6.

Kendall and Jere Bayne, an inseparable father-daughter duo, traveled to Arizona last week to meet with a doctor at the Translational Genomics Research Institute to discuss the postsurgical treatment and possible clinical trials. In an email, Jere Bayne wrote that he and Kendall met the institute's president, who offered Kendall a summer internship. The Baynes saw an adrenocortical carcinoma being treated under a microscope.

We "have many more advocates for Kendall in her journey," Jere Bayne said.

Kendall's parents and the doctors treating her have not decided whether she will be treated with chemotherapy or other drugs after the second surgery.

The Baynes made the trip using money from the fund established for Kendall.

"Otherwise, I would be taking out home equity loans," Jere Bayne said. "It [money] is one less thing I have to worry about."

While Kendall is still early in the treatment phase, the funds have already come in handy as the medical bills pour in. The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore charged the Baynes nearly $2,000 to read a set of scans forwarded from another facility, Jere Bayne said.

Kendall went back to school on a part-time basis after the Thanksgiving break.

"I like it. It's so tiring though," she said.

To look at her, Kendall appears as healthy and fit as most teens on the outside. She has two new scars on her torso -- one from the lung surgery and another smaller one where the chest tube went in. Her energy runs low and some normal activities, such as walking up a flight of stairs, leave her winded. Kendall's lung function and capacity are not expected to be affected long term, her dad said. He said she was in tip-top shape in February when she was diagnosed with adrenal cancer and she has not returned to her fit and healthy state. While she might be slowing down, Kendall is not stopping.

"She was dancing in the living room the other night here, and I was like, 'Kendall, slow down!'" recounted Jere Bayne.

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