Ocean City Today

Stephen Decatur students currently battling cancer

By Kara Hallissey | Apr 13, 2017

(April 14, 2017) Two local students, Kylie Boston and DeShawn “DJ” Spence, are currently battling cancer as schoolmates and the community rallies around them.

Boston, an eighth grader at Stephen Decatur Middle School, was diagnosed with brain cancer in January after a routine eye exam. She had no symptoms.

“Her parents want to bring awareness to brain cancer,” Brenda Kelly, a family friend, said. “The main thing is to warn parents to keep an eye on their kids, even if they don’t think anything is wrong.”

The 14-year-old has already endured a surgery and will have extensive therapy and treatments for at least the next 11 months at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, she said.

To help with medical expenses, a “Karaoke for Kylie” event is planned for Saturday, April 22 from 6-10 p.m. at the Showell Volunteer Fire Department on Worcester Highway.

Tickets cost $15 for adults and $5 for children. Guests age 5 and younger are admitted free.

“You are supporting a family during a time when they need this. Her dad had to quit his job,” Kelly said.

A lite fare dinner including roast beef, chicken, macaroni and cheese and a green vegetable will be provided with the purchase of a ticket. Attendees are also encouraged to check out the bake sale table.

There will be a 50/50 raffle, SonRise Church is providing bouncy houses, and a deejay is slated to spin tunes for karaoke and dancing.

Home Depot employees will be on hand to assist with arts and crafts. Stephen Decatur High School students will also be there to help with a number of games.

Several raffles are planned throughout the event including silent and live auctions with gift baskets, a cornhole board, beach décor, restaurant gift cards, hunting and fishing trips, hotel stays and a Yeti cooler.

“The community has been amazing,” Kelly said.

Rock band themed T-shirts can be purchased at the event for $15, $10 for youth sizes.

For more information, call Kelly at 410-726-1441.

DeShawn “DJ” Spence, a junior at Stephen Decatur High School, was diagnosed with B-cell leukemia in March.

“He wasn’t feeling good, had flu-like symptoms and lost 10 pounds in a week,” Mark Taylor, his great uncle, said. “He already had blood transfusions [since he was diagnosed]. It is going to be a war, but he is a fighter.”

The 17-year-old will undergo chemotherapy at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore with at least nine months of treatments ahead.

“He’s a trooper and in really good spirits,” Taylor said.

Spence has been on the wrestling team since his freshman year and participated in the 145-pound weight class this season.

“He is a vital part of the team and well-liked,” said Todd Martinek, head wrestling coach. “He has a good sense of humor and we hope he gets better. A lot of kids have been asking how he is doing. Our prayers are with him and his family. Hopefully he will be healthy in no time.”

On Monday, the Stephen Decatur High School softball team played in support of Spence and wore orange T-shirts in his honor.

There was also a donation table and bake sale to collect money, which raised $350 for Spence and his family.

Taylor set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for housing and transportation expenses two weeks ago. As of Tuesday afternoon, $1,695 was raised, with a $10,000 goal.

“Any money left over after expenses will be going into a savings account for DJ,” Taylor said. “He likes to take long walks during the day for exercise [at Johns Hopkins]. He met royalty, Queen Latifah, and she gave him a hug. It made his day.”

To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/djs-medical-treatment-fund.

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