Local teen musician hosts benefit for 11-year-old battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma

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Connor Lawley, an eighth-grader at Youth Middle School, is hosting a benefit Saturday evening at the Cotton Cafe in Monroe to support 11-year-old Karalyn Kilgore who is battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The 13-year-old has gathered a lineup of local musicians to join him in his efforts.
“Wear purple and come out to support #karalynstrong. Join us for an awesome lineup of local musicians giving back,” Connor said. “Artists include School of Rock Snellville, Connor Lawley, J. Kyle Reynolds, Rylee Nicholson, and Zach Haines. All proceeds go directly to Karalyn’s family.”
Karalyn Kilgore. Contributed photo

Karalyn’s mother, Jennifer Kilgore, said her daughter received the diagnosis in September this year after a biopsy was performed on a walnut-sized lump that she discovered on her neck over the summer.

“After weeks of antibiotics, the doctors agreed to do a biopsy of her lymph nodes. On Sept. 11, 2018, we received a life-changing phone call telling us that Karalyn had Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The days after that were filled with unfamiliar medical jargon, multiple appointments with multiple doctors, and more tears than you could ever imagine. Her PET scan showed that her cancer was on both sides of her neck as well as the top of her chest, which put her at a stage 2A,” Kilgore said. “She was quickly scheduled for another surgery to put a port in so they could have safer access for chemo. This port runs from her side and has a tube that threads up her chest, over her collarbone, and into her heart. Once that was placed, she began her six rounds of chemotherapy which included four different drugs.”
Kilgore said Karalyn goes every 14 days for chemo and has completed five treatments so far. She’s had allergic reactions, fevers, persistent nausea and “is on enough medication to fill a gallon sized baggie.”
Karalyn Kilgore. Contributed photo

“She will have what we hope to be her last treatment on December 18th. She needs another PET scan to determine if the cancer is gone which will be scheduled at the end of December,” Kilgore said.

Karalyn is a fifth-grader at Youth Elementary School and her mother said she has an overwhelming amount of support and prayers from her school, community, and friends.
“She was able to play in a few more of her soccer games on the days she felt good enough and typically scored a goal or two each time! She’s missing her friends so much right now since she’s homebound until her treatment is over,” Kilgore said.
The benefit is being sponsored by the Cotton Cafe, 1950 Clothing Company, the School of Rock Snellville and Susan Kliesen RE/MAX. The event is from 4 – 9 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018, at the Cotton Cafe, located at 136 N. Broad Street in Monroe. If you are downtown for the 200th Birthday for Walton County, swing by the Cotton Cafe before heading home to support a young Walton County resident in need of help and the young musicians who are doing what they can to give back to the community. A Gofundme account also has been set up in support of Karalyn.
Karalyn Kilgore. Contributed photo

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