Life Threatening Illnesses
Kinna Family's Bio
Thirteen-year-old Noland Kinna and his mom Melissa, 39, are now both being treated for life threatening illnesses. In 2011, at the age of seven, Noland was diagnosed with an inoperable low-grade brain glioma (pilocytic astrocytoma) and has been through chemotherapy and taken a MEK inhibitor over the past two years to battle his tumor. Unfortunately, in February 2018 after a routine MRI it was discovered that Noland’s tumor had grown 25% since he had stopped treatment in November. The following day Melissa met with her own oncologist at John’s Hopkins to receive her final diagnosis of stage III t-cell lymphoma (erythrodermic mycosis fungoides), an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Their heartbreaking joint battle has given them a unique bond and Noland’s strength through treatments in the past has helped Melissa deal with her own cancer. “I’m very positive when it comes to myself because I have seen for myself what Noland has been through. I figure if my kid can do it, I know I can do it. Our family life has revolved around hospital appointments for so long now, but we just move on taking it one day at a time – we have to. What other choice do we have?”
More about Noland:
Noland is a lot like other 13-year-old boys, he is very active, enjoys hanging out with friends, and loves sports – especially baseball. Where he is different is in the fact that he has more life experience than most kids will ever see in their lifetime. Noland started his 18-month round of chemotherapy at the age of 8. Then after a year and a half break he had to start a second treatment using a MEK inhibitor clinical study sponsored by the National Cancer Institute that end in November of 2017. Noland will be starting another MEK inhibitor treatment to deal with his most recent tumor growth. Luckily the newer treatments are not as harsh as chemotherapy and radiation and allow him the freedom to have treatment at home and be more of a normal teenager.
More about Melissa:
Known for her help with local baseball organization, Melissa has volunteered countless hours to many organizations including Thurmont Little League, Thurmont Babe Ruth, and Frederick County Babe Ruth. She has a passion to help others and loves being a part of the baseball community. Her recent diagnosis of t-cell lymphoma was a complete shock to her and her family, but the Thurmont community has been a strong and uplifting support system to Melissa and her family. “When you go through things like this, you come to realize how much you rely on others,” Melissa said. “The kindness of people is amazing.” Unfortunately, there is no cure for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but with today’s medical improvements Melissa has high hopes for her future. Melissa is currently undergoing systemic treatments before moving on to electron beam radiation, chemotherapy/immunotherapy and allogeneic stem cell transplant.