Fundraiser Launched to Assist BHS Graduate, Former Bridgeport Police Officer Brian Kemmerer in his Fight Against Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma

By Julie Perine on April 06, 2019 via Connect-Bridgeport.com

Until May of 2018, Brian Kemmerer served Bridgeport as a police officer. That’s the career path which the Bridgeport High School graduate and former member of the Indian baseball team had decided to follow.  But now Kemmerer, his wife Brittany and two young children are dealing with a situation they never saw coming. He has been diagnosed with low-grade oral squamous cell carcinoma.
 
Squamous cell carcinoma is the most common oral cancer. A large percentage of individuals diagnosed with it are tobacco users.  Kemmerer is not. It is also more common among individuals over age 50. Kemmerer is in his mid-30s.
 
It was Kemmerer’s dentist who first discovered the condition, leading to a biopsy and a subsequent regimen of care through the head and neck specialists at WVU Healthcare Ruby Memorial Hospital.
 
"After having surgery to remove the cancer from his tongue, we did find out that there was lymph node involvement which means that they treated him as stage 4," Brittany Kemmerer said. "He underwent seven rounds of chemotherapy and 30 radiation treatments."
 
Tuesday, he rang the bell to mark his final treatment.  
 
"He is still at a very hard spot right now since the treatments have accumulated and will continue to work for a couple more weeks," Brittany said. "We are looking forward to him healing and feeling better." 
 
Members of the community are stepping up to assist the Kemmerer family, which later this month will become a family of five. 
 
“We all know cancer, even with an early diagnosis, can financially drain a family,” said Judy Bonamico, owner of Expressions Hair Salon. Bonamico and her business have launched a “Team Brian” T-shirt sale with 100 percent of the profits and any donations going directly to the Kemmerer family to cover medical and associated costs. T-shirts, which bear the message "Fight Like a Boss" sell for $23 and can be ordered HERE.
 
“You might know Brian as a Bridgeport High School baseball standout from the early-2000s or maybe he’s protected and served you somehow in the community during his years as a Bridgeport Police officer,” Bonamico said. “Please consider purchasing a shirt or making a donation today.”
 
Bridgeport Police Chief John Walker said Kemmerer was known to go the extra mile.
 
“Brian was a good officer and detective,” he said. “He took initiative to get trained and certified as a polygraph operation – one of just a few in West Virginia.”
 
Kemmerer was an asset to the department and to the city, Walker said.
 
The local family is overwhelmed by the love and support provided by their hometown. 
 
"We've had a meal train set up by my sister and people have delivered meals to us every week," Brittany said. "Our friends also set up an elimination dinner for Brian, as well as what Judy has done for us. It's very humbling and makes you realize how special our smal town is."
 
Organized by Klint West and Chad Kroll, the elimination dinner is scheduled for 5-9 p.m. April 20 at Anmoore Fire Hall. Tickets sell for $50 single or $75 per couple. Payout is $1,000. 
 
Editor's Note: Brian and Brittany Kemmerer with their children Penelope and Beau are pictured above.



Connect Bridgeport
© 2019 Connect-Bridgeport.com