May 01st, 2017
For any family, a diagnosis of pediatric cancer is devastating. For the Kuhns family, this became their reality when their daughter Kelsey was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia at the age of 4. After undergoing treatment her cancer went into remission, but by age 9, Kelsey suffered a relapse and her cancer returned. Her doctors advised that she undergo a stem cell transplant, and after testing, it was confirmed that her sister Kylie, was a donor match. The treatment was successful.
Sadly, six years after the stem cell transplant, Kelsey passed away on November 1, 2005. Throughout her battle, Kelsey remained a positive influence for other children in the hospital. She always had a smile on her face, and made it a point to brighten everyone’s day as best she could. Kelsey’s sister Kylie has made it her mission to carry on Kelsey’s dream after Kelsey’s passing, ensuring that children affected with cancer are uplifted in some way. Kylie created the organization “Kelsey’s Dream”.
“When my big sister Kelsey was diagnosed with cancer, our entire world changed. My mother had to change her role as a parent, I changed my role as a sister, and Kelsey found a passion and a desire to not only fight for herself, but for every child around her,” says Kylie.
For children, going through treatment can be scary and confusing. Parents and medical advisers may have a tough time translating complex procedures to young patients. Based on a drawing Kelsey created, Hopper the Cancer Crusher was born.
In 2011, Kylie began contacting companies in search of a partner that would allow for her dreams of Hopper the Cancer Crusher to come to life.
In Gaithersburg, Maryland, Saint-Gobain’s Life Sciences facility is focused on the manufacturing of specialty disposables for both the biotechnology and cell therapy markets. One of the main applications of the Gaithersburg facility’s products is their use in the manufacturing of therapies for cancer. Inspired by Kylie’s initiative, Saint-Gobain donated mediports to the organization which would be used on Hopper as a mock IV connection.
Hopper the Cancer Crusher was designed not only to be a toy and a comfort for young patients, but also a companion on the journey through treatment. Once the child receives Hopper,they can explore the mediport in a safe and nonthreatening way. This allows them to become more familiar with the equipment and can reduce the fear of their own treatment. Along with the mediport, Hopper wears hospital pajamas and a bandana just like the children wear. Hopper is a unique joy to children who have been diagnosed with cancer because the child can identify aspects of their own person and their own battle in the stuffed friend. Hopper not only takes the journey beside them, but he takes it with them.
"Because of the donation (and assembly) of the mediports, Kelsey’s Dream will be able to increase production and shipment of Hopper the Cancer Crusher. No family or hospital pays for these play-therapy-toys, so this mission runs entirely on the generosity of people around us. When Kelsey passed away in 2005, I took that passion and that love that she had for the world and I allowed it to fuel my family towards positivity, growth, and change. Our goal is to put a smile on the face of every child who has been diagnosed with cancer and make their day just a little bit easier and their fight just a little bit stronger.” - Kylie Kuhns, Founder of Kelsey’s Dream. To date, Kelsey’s Dream has placed 16,000 Hoppers with children around the United States.
Meet a few of Hopper’s friends!
Wyatt and Hopper Brooklyn and Hopper
Share your Hopper Selfie with us!
Instructions: If you or someone you know has received a Hopper, take a Selfie with Hopper and share your photo on the channels listed below using the hashtag #HopperCrushesCancer! Let’s spread the word and show our support for Kelsey’s Dream!
Share your Selfie on the following channels:
Saint-Gobain Social Channels
Kelsey’s Dream Social Channels
Facebook: Kelsey's Dream
If you have not received a Hopper, but have a touching story of a child you know fighting cancer, please share with us and use the hashtag #CrushingCancer
Learn more about Kelsey’s Dream and Hopper the Cancer Crusher here:
Learn more about Saint-Gobain and its Cell Therapy products here: