Local Woman with Cancer’s Wish Comes True Thanks to Former Classmates

Dana Hall Kennon (right) with daughter Kelleen (center) and daughter’s girlfriend Caroline Peltz (left) pose for a photo with Pluto at Disneyland. (Photo contributed by Dana Hal Kennon)

For Clovis local Dana Hall Kennon, 58, the power of the internet and old friends made her bucket list wish come true. 

In 2017, Kennon was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer that eventually spread to her bones, lungs and her whole body. She was only given three to four months to live. Two years later she is still fighting her battle. 

Kennon was taking a chemo treatment that was making her extremely sick, taking a toll on her body physically and mentally. She talked to her doctor and he was able to figure out an alternative treatment. With this new treatment, things began to look up for her, she was starting to feel more like herself again. 

This inspired Kennon to post on Facebook that all she wanted to do was see the Holiday Lights at Disneyland, one last time. 

Nancy Juetten had been getting ready for her 40 year high school reunion that was taking place on October 12, 2019. In the weeks leading up to that class reunion Juetten saw Kennon’s post about her bucket list wish. 

The two hadn’t been in contact for 40 years, but Juetten knew she had to do something to help.

“It got to me, I’m driving around doing my life and trying to fall asleep that night and I thought someone really ought to make this happen,” Juetten said. “When I woke up, I thought, I better step up. So I did.”

Juetten and Kennon’s friendship began in high school, both worked for the high school newspaper. After high school, the two had lost contact and hadn’t been in touch since.

That didn’t stop Juetten from reaching out to old classmates, sharing what was going on with Kennon. In a few days, those old classmates from John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills, CA raised $2,500 for Kennon, her daughter Kelleen, 21, and her daughter’s girlfriend to go see the Holiday Lights at Disneyland. 

Kennon was able to experience what it was like to be a kid again. She was even able to see the magic of Disneyland through the eyes of someone who has never experienced it, as it was Kelleen’s girlfriend’s first visit. 

“Disneyland was perfect and it was what she wanted, it was amazing to see her live for a bit,” Kelleen said. “It made every moment worth fighting for.” 

Los Angeles news station ABC 7 came out to Dinseyland to cover the magic that was happening with Kennon, Kelleen and her girlfriend. 

Kennon was able to fulfill her wish thanks to the kindness of her 1979 class, and specifically Juetten who organized the fundraiser. 

The new treatment that made Kennon feel alive again, came with an expensive price. This specific treatment isn’t covered by her insurance. 

She now has to pay out of pocket for the only treatment that doesn’t make her feel dead inside. 

Feeling encouraged by the generosity of her high school class, Kennon created a gofundme and a fundraiser through Facebook to help pay for her chemo treatment. Again, classmates and the community began donating to her pages, showing the kindness humanity can have. 

Kennon told Juetten that no one in her 58 years has done anything so kind or generous for her. 

Kennon and Kelleen said the support they have received so far truly means the world to them. 

“We have struggled our whole lives and all of the support we are getting means the world to me,” Kelleen said. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through and losing my mom would be even harder. I will never stop fighting for her and I appreciate all of the people helping us fight together.”

Kennon and Kelleen have always been on their own. With Kelleen graduating from Fresno State this fall with a BA in Psychology she is planning on continuing her education. 

Kelleen is dealing with the hardships of having to watch her mother suffer through this battle while also having to stay focused on school. 

The financial burden of Kennon’s treatment and Kelleen’s tuition for the Master’s program is too much to bear for the two of them. 

If you are looking to help out Clovis local Dana Kennon, here are some ways you can donate. https://www.facebook.com/donate/578807439360593/10158051359367941/

Go Fund Me campaign 

Haley Graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communications & Journalism. While her emphasis is Multimedia Haley took classes on reporting and media writing. She has a passion for her major and strives to be versatile as she can in her field. During her last semester at Fresno State she was an intern at CMAC. She gained hands on experience working on live productions for the community.