A star among stars, little Warriors fan battles brain tumor

Kapri Geenaert and family. From L- Shawn, Kailey and Kenadie Geenaert with family member Aiden. photo by F.D. Purcell

Kapri Geenaert and family at the Warriors game, Thursday night, April 9, 2015. From L – Shawn, Kailey, Kenadie and Kapri Geenaert with family member Aiden. photo by F.D. Purcell

Attends game during NBA’s Hoops for St. Jude Week

By F.D.Purcell

Many fans show up to Golden State Warriors games early, in hopes of shaking hands or getting a photo op with their favorite player and this past Thursday was no different. Except this time the roles were reversed; Warriors players shook hands and took photos with someone sitting courtside near their bench.

Kapri meets Stephen Curry and St. Jude NBA Ambassdor David Lee. Photo by F.D. Purcell

Kapri and family meet the Warriors’ Stephen Curry and St. Jude NBA Ambassador David Lee. Photo by F.D. Purcell

That person would be six year-old Santa Rosa resident Kapri Geernaert. Chosen to attend Thursday’s game, as a part of the NBA’s Hoops for St. Jude Week, April 3rdthrough 9th, Geernaert met with Warriors players and St. Jude Childrens Hospital Ambassador David Lee, who visited St. Jude last month in Memphis and donated $75,000 to help support their lifesaving work.

Geernaert is one of 250 to 500 children in the U.S. daignosed yearly with a cancerous tumor called Medulloblastoma, which accounts for 20% of all childhood brain tumors in our country.

Last June, after months of battling flu-like symptoms Kapri’s illness would come to a head. While riding in the car with her mother, Becki she suffered a seizure and the Geernaerts would receive the news that no parent should ever have to hear, their five year-old daughter had a brain tumor.

The past year has been crazy, a lot of anxiety,” said her father Shawn. Doctors would eventually find multiple tumors peppered throughout her spine and brain areas, one the size of a walnut on her brain that was removed. The others were smaller and did not require removal.

Sitting with her big sisters, 11 year-old Kenadie and nine year-old Kailey and 11 year-old cousin Aiden, the Geernaert girls describe their little sister as funny” and “cute,” who “likes to do crazy things.” They kept Kapri’s spirit happy by giving her candy, when they visited.

While their mom stayed with Kapri in Memphis her sisters helped their dad out, by helping with laundry and dishes, at their home in Santa Rosa.

We love St. Jude, it’s a home away from home,” said Becki who was not in attendance Thursday but face-timed with Shawn, becoming emotional when she saw Kapri’s interaction with the players.

Donning a Warriors cap and personalized jersey with her name on the back the soft-spoken first grader told Sports in the Bay she enjoys doing crafts and her favorite player was “#30,” because she “likes the way he shoots.” For those of you living under a rock this season that would be two-time all-star and MVP candidate Stephen Curry.

The Geernaerts credit their faith and church, Spring Hills Church in Santa Rosa, for providing a wealth of support over the past nine months, along with a host of family and friends who held fund raising events and offered words of prayer and encouragement.

After seven rounds of chemotherapy, five weeks of radiation and a nine-month residence in Memphis, Kapri returned home a few weeks ago and is adjusting well. She enjoys visiting her classmates daily and is excited about returning to school in the fall.

I would encourage people to give $5 or $10, anything to St. Jude because its going to a great cause,” said Becki whose husband was a long-time contributor to St. Jude before Kapri’s diagnosis.

Learn more about Kapri on her Facebook page: Kapri Geernaert.

Follow F.D. Purcell on Twitter: @sportsinthebay_ or on Facebook at: Sports in the Bay

the attachments to this post:

Kapri, Stephen Curry and David Lee


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