Friday, February 1, 2008

Rob Kemp

It is very amazing how quickly you get to know people on J-5. In a very short time you begin to feel like you have known them all your life.

We felt very connected with Rob's family because Rob and Tyler are both 15 years old. We have given updates on Rob several times on this blog. I met Missy, Rob's mom, the night they arrived back on J-5. I actually approached her because I thought she was the mother of Brett Workman, a 17 year old with Burkitt's that I knew was arriving at Children's that day. I thought she was Brett's mom through most of the conversation, until I finally asked why she looked at me like I was an idiot whenever I said anything about Brett.

Missy is an amazing bundle of energy. Always positive, always proactive, always moving, always involved in everything connected to Rob's care. It is always uplifting to speak with her. From the first meeting her energy reminded me of "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" from the Titanic.

Last night I posted about getting a game system to keep these kids interacting with each other while in isolation. Rob Kemp was the inspiration for that idea when Missy told me he was expected to spend a few months in isolation. He was receiving his third bone marrow transplant.

Rob went into isolation after his bone marrow transplant, and then was moved to ICU about the same time they were about to send Tyler down there.

Yesterday I was in the parents kitchen and ran into Chris, Rob's dad, and asked how Rob was doing. Chris said Rob was still in ICU, but fighting strong. We then talked about all the things the kids go through, and the will to fight that they display. Later in the afternoon I was in the hall talking to our friend Cathy Lane. Missy came by very excited. Rob's bilirubin was improving for the first time, and ICU had taken him off the respirator. Things were looking up.

Early this morning things began to take a turn for the worse.

Rob Kemp, age 15, passed away at 7:15 this morning.

Best known by his nickname "Duck", he fought through relapses and three bone marrow transplants. Two transplants were from his sisters. The third from an unknown person in Cleveland. He never stopped fighting during his 7 year battle.

The image in my mind right now is the patient board at the nurses station. Several times a day I would walk past the board and see Rob Kemp's name and room number. Beside his name is the word "HOLD", because Rob was down in ICU. I am at home now. It sounds very strange, but I feel like running back to J-5 just to see his name one more time. But I suspect his name has already been erased.

I never got to know you Duck, but I already miss you.

Please keep this wonderful family in your prayers. To the right, under "Blog Links", you can find a link to Rob's blog.


Kylee said...

I am devastated at this news. I feel a special connection to all the kids on J5, even though I didn't know Duck very well. It really makes you count your blessings. I will keep praying for duck and his family.


Anonymous said...

Rest in peace, Rob.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes life is truly not fair...
May Rob rest in peace, may his family find the strength to get through this.

Anonymous said...

I too have never met Rob, yet I cry as I read your post. Sometimes life just stinks. But it is also in those times that we need to remember we have a God that is there for us to get us through.

Praying that you & Robs family can feel His love in this loss.

deyerle said...


I have been following Rob story also from Tyler blog. I am so sad to hear about his passing. I too felt like I knew his mother just by reading her blogs. Duck certainly fought hard for a very long time. May he rest in peace.


Mom said...


Once again the roller coaster of this awful disease hits hard. God bless Duck for his valor and fight. And prayers especially for his Mom & Dad. The loss of a child is the worse of human suffering.

Dad & I will keep Duck's family on our prayer list. You and Kathy are experiencing both love and loss on J-5. Stay strong and hold each other.

Your journal through this journey brings into focus the true meaning of life and what is most important. Thank you for what you are doing.

Have a special weekend with all your boys. This is one Super-bowl you will never forget. May it last forever!!