Blue ribbons tied along Milford Green in support of Danni Kemp

Blue ribbons have been tied around trees on the downtown Milford Green to show support for a young woman battling a brain tumor.

The community has been rallying around Danni Kemp, 19, a Foran High School graduate described as a great athlete and a lovely person.

Kemp has undergone treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital for a rare cancerous tumor in the pons region of her brain. According to family friend Rhonda Hart, who was one of several people tying the blue ribbons to the trees earlier this week, Kemp will be traveling to Germany for special medical treatment.

During her high school career as a three-sport athlete, Kemp overcame kidney disease, which has since gone into remission.

The Kemp family has a GoFundMe page (www.gofundme.com/2hc4x85g) to help defray the major expenses associated with Kemp’s treatment. The site had collected more than $116,000 as of this week.

Kemp, who this spring completed her freshman season with Stony Brook University’s women’s softball team, was a standout catcher and shortstop at Foran and is in her first year with the legendary Brakettes.

“As an avid softball player since childhood, Danni was spending this summer the same way she has been for the past 10 years, playing summer softball; only this year, she was in a Brakettes uniform the whole summer,” the gofundme website states.

“In early July, Danni got hit by a pitch in the helmet during an at-bat. As a few weeks passed, Danni began experiencing balance problems, trouble focusing and dizziness. Doctors had initially thought it was a concussion, but after an MRI was ordered, they realized it was not a concussion. After being sent to Yale-New Haven Hospital, Danni and her family were informed that she has an inoperable brain tumor in the Pons region of her brain.”

The family was told that due to the location of the tumor, surgery was not an option. Instead, she began radiation therapy on Aug. 29.

Hart said Kemp is friends with her daughter, and noted that the family is hopeful about the treatment that Kemp will be receiving in Germany. Hart has been told that the doctors in Germany who will be treating Kemp have been successful in treating brain tumors.

“The family is staying very positive,” Hart said, noting that the travel is adding to the family’s expenses.

Foran English teacher Lisa Farrell said the community has been amazing in its support. A dinner at the school recently raised more than $5,200, Farrell said.

There also was a fund-raiser at the Orange Ale House, and this weekend students will be holding a “can shake” outside the Stop & Shop near the mall on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to raise money for Kemp’s family

The 30 blue ribbons tied to the downtown trees were donated by a friend of one of the ribbon-tying organizers. “Blue is Danni’s favorite color,” Farrell explained.

Farrell called Kemp a “Super Trooper” and praised the community for its support.

“The nicest thing is the big sense of community,” said Farrell. “People have their own stories that they share, and it’s so touching to see how generous people are.”

Hart talked about Kemp, and her strength.

“She’s a fighter,” Hart said. “She’s amazing. She gets along with everyone. She’s sweet. She’s positive. She played every sport and excelled at everything.”

Kemp recently received the 2016 Chelsea Cohen Courage Award, which is sponsored for the first time this year by NBC Sports Champions, the pro-social initiative of NBC Sports Group.

The Fairfield County Sports Commission created the Chelsea Cohen Courage Award in 2006. It is named after the late Chelsea Cohen, a former Norwalk High soccer star who was the Commission’s first Courage Award recipient and passed away in 2006 after a courageous battle with a rare form of cancer of the nervous system.

The award recognizes the person in the sports community who has shown inspirational strength in battling life-altering obstacles.

People can donate to the Kemp family through the Gofundme page or drop checks off at Foran High School to Lisa Farrell.