In August 2012, cancer kiss my cooley gave a “Kiss of HOPE” to 19 year old Raymond who was diagnosed with left temporal lobe ependyome brain tumor in 2008, when he was 15 years old.

Joe Kettner learned of Raymond through a referral from Hope’s Friends. Joe spent some time with Raymond to understand how CKMC could help create a special memory for Raymond. Raymond wanted to share his Kiss of HOPE with his family. He told Joe that their love and support through his journey has been everything. He said they’ve made many sacrifices for him and he wanted to use the Kiss of HOPE as a way to give back. Raymond thought a day at the shopping mall would be a real treat for his family.

Raymond’s Kiss of HOPE started with a stretch limousine ride to Woodfield Mall where Raymond and his 11 family members were equipped with a $1000 gift card to go on a shopping spree, and topped the evening off with delicious dinner for 12 at PF Changs to satisfy Raymond’s taste buds, whose favorite food is Asian cuisine. The Kiss of HOPE commenced with a limo ride home, full bellies, and shopping bags of goodies.

“It was my absolute privilege to help plan and put this memorable day into action for Raymond and his family”, reported Eileen Gertz, CKMC Director. Feedback from Raymond included how happy he was to buy some school clothes for his nieces and nephews, and that he was full for days after the wonderful dinner.

In late 2012, Raymond’s tumor progressed, and CKMC wanted to help further. Thanks to a CKMC fundraiser held at LTCI Partners (Lake Forest, IL) we were able to provide $1500 in gift cards for Raymond and his family for Christmas shopping.

Sadly, on January 9th, 2013, Raymond passed away quietly in his sleep. He was surrounded by his family. We will always hold Ray’s smile and his generous heart very close to our own.