Brain Cancer

Softball star whose suspected concussion led to brain tumor diagnosis dies

Danielle Kemp, pictured center, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

Danielle Kemp, pictured center, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.  (Danni Kemp's Cancer Support Fund)

A Connecticut town is mourning the loss of a softball standout whose suspected concussion symptoms led to an inoperable brain tumor diagnosis. Danielle Kemp, 19, was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), after being hit in the head by a pitch during a summer league game.

Her tragic death was reported on the family’s GoFundMe page, which had been used to keep her growing group of supporters updated on her health.

“With a broken heart and tremendous pain, I wanted to let everyone know that Danni has passed away,” Bradley Taylor wrote on the GoFundMe page. “She passed peacefully in her sleep early this morning surrounded by her loving family. We all are in shock and wanted everyone to know that she fought to the very end, never complained and had her humor to the very end.”

Kemp, a 2015 graduate of Foran High School, was a member of the Division-1 Stony Brook University softball team. She had been playing summer ball with the Stratford Brakettes when she was hit by a pitch in July. She began having trouble with balance and focusing, and experienced bouts of dizziness. Initially the symptoms were believed to be from a concussion and she was outfitted with glasses and contacts, but an MRI revealed she was actually suffering from DIPG.

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Kemp had shared on her Facebook page that it was not the first time she had dealt with medical adversity, as she was recently declared to be in remission from a rare kidney disease that she was diagnosed with in high school.

A March 9 post on the GoFundMe support page said that Kemp and her parents had planned to speak with her doctors about treatment options, and a biopsy on her tumor was planned for Monday. Various fundraisers set up by supporters through her Milford town and the softball community raised more than $128,000 to help cover costs of treatment.