Kimberley’s Story

Site created on June 12, 2018

Welcome to Kim’s page! We appreciate your love, warm wishes, and prayers. We know so many of you love Kim so much (I mean, yeah, she’s pretty lovable!), and so we’ll do our best to keep this updated as often as we can. Below is Kim’s story so far, as some of you may not know this journey actually began in 2012. Regardless of where it started and where this chapter will take her, if you know Kim then you know there is still a lot of story left to tell!

In 2012, Kim was diagnosed with a one-in-a-million combination of two different types of cancers. We always knew she was one-in-a-million; we could have done without that proof. But, being the rockstar she is, Kim went through an intensive surgery (nicknamed MOAS: “Mother of All Surgeries”) in July 2012. And in true Kim fashion, she got herself strong and healed enough to walk Ricky to his first day of kindergarten.

If beating two types of cancer isn’t enough proof of being a badass, in November 2017, Kim had surgery for thyroid cancer.  Though her body was adjusting to the new status quo, she shined her way through the holidays, always a beacon of light for those of us who are lucky enough to be Kim’s family and friends!

This May 2018, Kim learned that she was no longer one-in-a-million, but that she is one-in-ten-million with this new health challenge that has been handed to her. However, if past experience tells us anything, we know Kim will face this with the same grace and strength that she has for all of the previous obstacles, and that like those battles she will come out the victor!

We wish that we had more information to share with you about what is currently going on, however her case is so extremely rare not much, if any, information is available. What we do know is that the cells from the original appendix cancer found their way into her bones where they have now caused new tumors. The good news is that given how rare this is, doctors from all over the world are looking at Kim’s case. She is going to have access to cutting edge new treatments that are not even openly available yet. And of course, because Kim is who she is (a totally selfless person), she is grateful to be a part of research that is going to lead to helping thousands, if not millions, of people in the years to come.  Kim is full of faith and it is her faith that is carrying her through this next chapter.  Kim believes if this is God’s calling then she proudly and humbly accepts this next challenge; don’t dare doubt her. 

That’s where we are for now. No treatments have started yet as there are many test results that doctors are waiting on. Kim is spending her time trying to rest and be present with Rob, Ricky, and JD.

As I just mentioned, Kim is resting up for the road ahead. Though she appreciates every single message sent her way, we thank you for understanding that she may not have the energy to get back to each of you individually (even though she very much wishes that she could). There are just too many daily texts and calls for her to be able to do this. But please know that she reads every message even if she isn’t able to reply. A great way to reach her now is through this page, so that she can log on and check the comments when she is in that mindset. 

Kim does have one request for this summer though; it is to make certain Ricky and JD have another summer full of endless sleepovers full of Nerf battles, swimming, basketball, gaming, and all of the fun that summer break has to offer.  She wouldn’t want it any other way.  Please know if she says “yes” to all of those things, she means YES!  Send the kids over! Kim loves all the activity in the house and gets so much joy out of watching the boys and all their antics… although she could do without the smell that follows!

Finally, there is one thing Kim wants everyone to be sure of: Kim still wants to be “Kim”! She wants you to remember that no matter what’s going on, she’s still there expecting to hear your stories. She’s still there to share in your struggles. And she’s still there to share a laugh and lend a hand. Kim has always been a better giver than receiver, so please continue to allow her to fill her soul through the gift of friendship.

If  you have questions that can be answered by me, Kristyn, you can reach me at 630-408-5898 or our sister, Kathleen, at 630-853-5556. We are both here in Naperville with Kim and are happy to answer what we can, facilitate a delivery, or whatever else you might want/need where we can be the point of contact while Kim tries to focus her energy and attention on preparing for her next victory!

We promise to update you anytime we have information to update; if you aren’t hearing from us, it is because there is not anything new to post yet. And Kim will hop on and say HI to you all whenever she can.  If there’s one thing about Kim that has stayed true over the past 6 years, she has never once lost her sense of humor. I expect she will pop on with some smart ass or witty comment or picture to share.   

A meal-train page has been set up, and we are so grateful to everyone who has contributed and helped the Sandford crew get through these first few weeks. We will likely put the page back up when treatments begin, and I am happy to help those of you who are out of town send a meal via Uber Eats!

Thank you for caring about Kim as much as we all do. We know that you love her and support her, and so we will make sure to keep you in the circle! It is the combination of your love and support and Kim’s strong faith that will be what empowers Kim to win!

(PS You can see the page anytime, but you will need to register with Caring Bridge to receive notifications when updates are posted.)

Newest Update

Journal entry by Kristyn Benedyk

Hello Friends, 

It's been awhile! And wow has it been a year. I hope that you are all doing well and getting through this unusual time as best you can! 

I'm writing because as many of you know, we created a movement in Kim's memory called "A Pint for Kim". We are not a charity that tries to raise any money. We simply want to spread awareness that the biggest use of donated blood goes to cancer patients. And of course... we hold blood drives throughout the year to help keep patients at local hospitals and cancer centers going strong! 

Though we have small ones here and there, it's time for our annual BIG one which will always be held Saturday of Mother's Day Weekend! Last year we set the state record for single-location single-day blood drive with just under 500 pints donated, so this year we are trying to break our own record! 

We have a great new venue (JA Air Center at the Aurora Airport) that is going to allow us to have this amazing event in a safe and socially distanced way. The blood donations will be in an airplane hangar (beside multi-million dollar private jets, no less!). And the rest of the festivities will take place outside but under an awning the size of a football field! The full day of family fun events includes an insane car show (did someone say Bugatti??), live music, food trucks, and so much more!

We hope that if you are local you will come out and join us on May 8 to celebrate Kim's life and to help carry on her mission of turning her struggle into something positive and life-saving!!! 

Click Here to Sign Up to Donate on May 8!

This year in addition to the raffle that we will have again (where each blood donor gets ten free tickets to bid on tens of thousands of dollars of donated items), we also have a team challenge. So get a group together, and when you sign up to donate, put your team name in the notes section! The team to donate the most pints wins a catered dinner party from Little Pops Pizzeria! Yum!

If you would like to donate an item to our raffle, you can email: apintforkimsponsors@gmail.com. As I mentioned, we are not a charity that raises money, so these events only happen because of the generosity of the #apintforkim community! For all donations, we will promote your business or thank you on our social media platforms, in our program, and on our (coming soon) website. 

Thank you for all of your continued support. I know we all miss Kim, but she would be so humbled and proud to know that what she went through led to thousands of saved lives.

I've attached some additional information for you to read or share.

Also here is our first of many news stories about this year's event: Click to Read!

Thank you!

Love to you all!

XOXO,Kristyn


Click to go to our Facebook page!
Click to read this Chicago Tribune piece about our 2020 drive!



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Additional Note on Event Needs:
There are two areas we still need help with for this year's event.

First, the main thing we need in order to complete this event is to rent all of the necessary tables, chairs, linens that get set up for registration, the raffle room, and around the food trucks. If you own or know of a rental company that would be interested in donating this service, they would be listed as a primary sponsor. We only have two primary sponsors: JA Air Center for donating the space... and whoever can help with these rental items. If you are a company that would like to sponsor the cost of renting these items, please contact us as we are happy to list you as that primary sponsor if so! Thank you in advance for your consideration!!

Secondly, if you own a food truck or know someone who does, we'd love to chat. Food trucks will be set up and will operate the way they normally do (we hope we bring the food trucks a good full day of business as we expect over 1,000 people in attendance throughout the day!!). The trucks just have to know that each blood donor will be getting two tickets for a free food item, and so they have to be willing to accept those tickets and feed the blood donors. 
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