Ken & Colleen’s Kids Radiothon

Meet Joseph Burken
Meet Joseph Burken

On a family vacation in 2011, Joseph started to feel very sick with headaches and throwing up. Initial tests and blood work came back normal, so his family thought he might just be severely dehydrated. After extra fluids didn’t help, additional tests found that Joseph had a 2-cm brain tumor and hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain”.

Once the Burkens made it home, Joseph started chemo therapy at the U of I Children’s Hospital to treat his tumor. Although he did well at first, eventually his body didn’t recover quickly from the treatment, so he was only able to complete 8 ½ of 10 prescribed chemo cycles.

This past August, Joseph had a “routine” MRI when his shunt (which keeps fluid off his brain) malfunctioned, so he had headaches and got sick whenever he sat up. He was life-flighted to the hospital in Iowa City, and although his parents couldn’t ride along his aunt was there to greet him in the helicopter. He underwent shunt surgery at 3am, and afterward his temperature spiked to 103 degrees. After two days of Tylenol, ice packs and fans blowing on him, his fever finally subsided.

“Through it all, he just puts on a smile and deals with it.”
— Julie Burken, Joseph’s mom

Joseph has three siblings: a 3-year old brother, a 5-year-old sister and a 9-year-old brother. With other young children, his mom Julie marvels now at how young Joseph was when he got sick, but also at how brave he was. In fact, the barber who shaved Joseph’s head when he started chemo found out a few months later that he ALSO had cancer. He told Joseph’s dad Wade that if Joseph could laugh and play through chemo, he knew he could pull it together and get through it too.

“The things that CMN provides make a huge difference in a child’s, and in turn a family’s, experience,” Julie says. “We have been so thankful.”

From Big Ken, Colleen & Kurt

CMN means one thing to us…helping kids. When a child here at the hospital smiles, it lights up the room, and this Thursday and Friday, we want this hospital to be shining brightly.

We have been doing the radiothon for many years, and it means so much to us that you hear these kids’ stories, you feel the emotions of the parents, and you continue to assist these kids and families.

Helping the CMN directly impacts the quality of life of kids in the hospital, and we thank you so much for your continued support.

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100% your donation will help the kids at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital. Your donations help fund life-saving research and equipment as well as provide bereavement support for families, fund NICU memorial services and provide toys and games for waiting rooms and teen areas.

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Thanks to our generous bidders we raised nearly $10,000 through our silent auction! All proceeds go to Big Ken & Colleen’s Kids, supporting local Iowa families through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

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