Concert raises money for Lincoln student's medical expenses

June 19, 2012

A gym class mishap led doctors to discover an inoperable brainstem tumor in kindergartner Kaylen Birk this spring.

The Lincoln Elementary School student is now part of a clinical trial that is hoped to save her life, and the medical bills are mounting. To help the Birk family, community groups are coming together to hold the event Koncert for Kaylen.

The Differentials, a new four-man ensemble including Wauwatosa's Brian Leahy, will perform from 6 to 9 p.m. June 28 at the Rotary Performance Pavilion in Hart Park.

Tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for kids, and the price includes a picnic dinner donated by Leff's Lucky Town. There will be a beer tent, raffle and auction to help raise money to defray Kaylen's medical costs.

"This condition is notoriously difficult to treat with standard radiation therapy, and survival past 12 to 15 months is uncommon," according to the announcement sent by concert organizers.

A seemingly healthy little girl, Kaylen collided with a classmate during gym class in April. She was treated for a broken nose and mild concussion at Children's Hospital. The next day one side of her body operated differently than the other, which led to follow-up tests and a diagnosis of a tumor known as diffuse infiltrating pontine glioma, or DIPG.

Kaylen has completed the onsite phase of the trial at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and is home with her parents, Jon and Kathy Birk.

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