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Angel Fund Supports Local Family through Son’s Battle with Brain Cancer

When Jordan Kleinhans was 11 years old, he began having frequent headaches, sensitivity to light, and excessive fatigue. A CT scan revealed a heartbreaking discovery—there was a dime-sized tumor in the middle of his brain, and his brain was filling with fluid.

The pressure on Jordan’s brain was critically dangerous—he required urgent specialized care in Seattle.

He and his mother, Maxine Nakai, were immediately escorted to the Great Falls airport by ambulance. They were flown by Mercy Flight to Seattle Children’s Hospital where Jordan was rushed straight to surgery.

Maxine is now a Resource Nurse at Benefis Westview, but at the time she had never heard of the Angel Fund. Fortunately, their nurse gave them an application on the ambulance ride to the Great Falls airport, and then promptly submitted it to Benefis Foundation office on their behalf.

Jordan’s father, Bill, picked up their Angel Fund check from the Foundation the very next day, which helped cover the cost of gas and lodging as he joined his family in Seattle.

You can’t begin to imagine how it feels when you must leave suddenly, not at all prepared to go out of state, and you have but a few dollars on you... You want to worry about your sick child, not about money.

–Maxine Nakai

During Jordan’s surgery, the tumor was biopsied, and a burr hole was created to drain the fluid from Jordan’s brain. Jordan was diagnosed with pineal germinoma, a germ-cell tumor.

Jordan’s health suddenly took a turn for the worse when he developed meningitis. The chemotherapy treatments that he direly needed were put on hold for two weeks as he received intravenous antibiotics.

During those fourteen days, Jordan’s brain tumor grew to the size of a half dollar, and he lost vision in one eye. He also experienced complications from the burr hole, so a Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt was placed in his brain, which Jordan will have the rest of his life.

Throughout the horrendous turn of events, Jordan’s family was grateful to be able to remain by his side. “The Angel Fund helped with more than just the basics of meals, gas, and rooms. It helped put a smile and laughter on my son’s face,” Maxine said.

The Angel Fund is a Godsend.

–Maxine Nakai

Finally, Jordan recovered from the meningitis and was healthy enough to begin his treatment regimen. Jordan endured multiple chemotherapy treatments and dozens of proton radiation therapy sessions in Seattle over the course of six months.

Jordan also braved several more emergency surgeries related to the Ventriculoperitoneal Shunt in his brain, plus years of follow-up appointments. Thanks to help from the Angel Fund, Jordan’s family was with him every step of the way.

Jordan, now a healthy 16-year-old, was declared cancer free in early August 2018. “He is an amazing boy,” said Maxine. “There is so much good that comes from the Angel Fund. It is truly a blessing.”

The demand for the Angel Fund increases every year. We need your ongoing support to continue providing this vital assistance to children and their families in our community. Click here to make a donation online today.