Benefit for Kyah includes dinner, youth talent show
By Sandy Bond
Her name meaning “Earth,” Kyah Feyereison, 10, loves the earth’s colors. The green of the grass where she plays tag with her brother, Noah, 12, and sister, Avah, 7, and frolics with her ShitZu Cocoa, on their front lawn in east Mobridge. Or the blue of their pool where she “swims like a fish,” says her dad Justin; and the orange of autumn perennials that she favors fashioning in her hair.
Kyah loves music and wears her shoulder length blond hair like one of her favorite artists, Taylor Swift. She is always filling the home, her school and her church with love, laughter and song, says her mom Dawn. One of her favorite things is to accompany her dad as he plays guitar.
Attired in a flouncy tulle skirt, like many tweens her eyes light up when she describes her favorite fashions. Kyah loves helping others and looks forward to helping her mom and dad when her baby brother Jaah arrives in two weeks.
She plays drums in the Mobridge-Pollock Elementary School Band and takes piano lessons from Peggy Dixon.
She has a passion for math and reading. Her petite frame belies the wisdom she has acquired, living with a ever-present medical condition. For the last three years, an inoperable brain tumor has been triggering pounding headaches and nausea and robbing her of the ability to read her favorite books and see the notes in her sheet music.
Dawn and Justin are employed by One World Direct, which has been fantastic in their support for the family, Justin said. Kyah must make weekly trips to the clinic in Mobridge for blood draws, weekly trips to Bismarck for chemotherapy and bi-monthly trips to Minneapolis. One World and their church, Lakeside Bible, have become extended families. Residents of the adjoining communities have embraced the family. “Sometimes, if we both have to work, people have volunteered to take Kyah to Bismarck for chemotherapy,” Justin said.
Kyah was one of two people nominated to be beneficiaries of the Gumbo Gopher 5K Walk/Run held recently in Lowry, and good friend Karen Vogel is coordinating the dinner and talent show. Make A Wish allowed the entire family to attend Disneyworld in Florida.
Justin, the son of Linda Merchant, and Dawn, the daughter of Richard and Kandy Blankartz, never strayed far from their roots. Dawn lives a stone’s throw from where she grew up, and her sister and dad live only a few houses away. Childhood sweethearts at the age of 14, Dawn and Justin reunited as adults.
Kyah first began experiencing splitting headaches accompanied by nausea approximately three years ago. She was referred by local physicians to the University of Minnesota AMPLATZ, a research and teaching pediatric hospital at Minneapolis where a MRI indicated a tumor, first thought to be benign.
“A shunt to relieve the pressure of the spinal fluid to the brain was the first surgery,” Dawn said, “but that soon clogged; a second surgery, third ventriculostomy (there are four ventricles in the brain), was successful and it cleared the path through the tumor for the spinal fluid.”
But the tumor continued to grow, and physicians did a biopsy and discovered that the tumor was a slow-growing stage II asterocytoma.
“Chemo treatments are not a big thing,” she said.
Although the chemo tends to slow the growth of the tumor, it can have side effects including slowing fine motor skills and can cause tingling in her extremities, Dawn said, and because eye nerves run through the tumor, it has lead to vision problems.
A dinner/youth talent show benefit with fun, fellowship and food, is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, featuring the gifted youth of the area; it’s designed to help the Feyereisen family defray astronomical medical expenses. It’s hoped that area young people will share their unique talents to benefit Kyah. Anyone who wishes to participate in the talent show can call 848-0706. A bake sale is scheduled earlier that evening and items can be dropped off the day of the fundraiser after 10 a.m., and Kyah T-shirts are available; there will be a raffle for a Chiappa M4-22 rifle. Items for a live and silent auction can be dropped off at One World Direct call center, 10 First Ave. East.
Kyah will be the star of the evening as she will sing and dance with sister Avah and Brookelynn Vogel, choreographing her rendition of “Hoedown Throwdown.”