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Johnson Cancer Foundation

Kevin Patoc’s Story

Kevin’s story is very important to his family, they would like to put this story out there to all of the young people entering the real world or going to college and that have been affected by cancer.

     Kevin Patoc was a loving, caring, thoughtful and happy young man, with an amazing smile. After High School Kevin was awarded a scholarship in choir to Hawaii Pacific University. Kevin had a gift with his voice, he loved to sing around the house, in the car, and always had music on playing. His mom loved to hear him sing. Kevin wanted to become a marine biologist as he loved working with animals, particularly marine animals, his favorite marine animal was the octopus. He volunteered over 500 hours at the Seattle Aquarium because he loved these beautiful creatures so much. Cooking was another one of Kevin’s favorite past times, he loved helping his mom in the kitchen. Once while in college at HPU his family couldn’t afford to fly him home for Thanksgiving so he stayed with some friends and made a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner for them, they raved about his cooking.

On September 4th, 2007, Kevin called home and told his mom that he didn’t feel good, he had a high fever and sore throat. His mom told him to take some Tylenol and throat lozenges and she would find him a doctor, since he didn’t have one in Hawaii yet. Once he got into the doctor in Hawaii they did some cultures, gave him some antibiotics and drew some blood to run some blood work. While waiting for the test results to come back Kevin was still attending school and had a choir performance he needed to be ready for. He couldn’t miss any practices as he was there on a choir scholarship. 24 hours after Kevin went to the doctors he received a phone call asking him to come to the office ASAP. Kevin called home to let his mom know and of course this made his mom worry and sad that she couldn’t be there. His mom encouraged him to be strong, all the while she was falling apart.

At 3pm on September 6th, 2007 Kevin called home with his doctor on the line, Kevin’s mom will never forget that phone call. The doctor said “Mrs. Patoc, Kevin has AML Leukemia.” The only thing that she and Kevin could do was cry, his mom was heartbroken that she couldn’t be there to hug Kevin when receiving this diagnosis. Kevin’s mom told him to be strong and she was on her way to bring him home. His parents flew to Hawaii the next day only to find out that they couldn’t take him home right away as his white blood cell count was extremely high and he needed chemotherapy right away. As soon as they arrived home in Seattle he received more chemotherapy and a trial medication. Kevin was strong and didn’t complain, he always believed he would get better and so did his parents.

Kevin was waiting to find a bone marrow donor and found out that there was a young man that was a 99% match for him, but after waiting for a week and a half for the young man to respond he let the doctors know that he was no longer interested in being a donor and changed his mind. Kevin’s family was devastated. Although the doctors tried to find a match after that they had no success. The Patoc family was told they didn’t have time to wait for another match, so they chose to do a cord blood transplant. The survivor rate was not very high, but Kevin was optimistic and chose to do it.

On May 18th, 2008 Kevin received his cord blood transplant. On July 5th, 2008, his little brother Jeremy’s 17th birthday, Kevin lost his fight to AML Leukemia.

Jeremy, Kevin’s little brother, graduated high school the following year. His family had heard about a foundation that gave scholarships to students whose family that had been affected by cancer, unfortunately on paper they made too much money, when in reality with all of the doctors and hospital bills they were broke. The foundation didn’t look at that part, and Jeremy didn’t qualify. So, Neil & Maryann Johnson, the aunt & uncle to Kevin, decided that they wanted to set up a non-profit cancer foundation in honor of Kevin that will help students with college scholarships that have been affected by cancer and it would not be based on income.

Today, the Johnson Cancer Foundation and The Kevin Patoc Scholarship have been formed and are giving scholarships just as they had hoped. Kevin is loved and missed every day, now his legacy can live on and hopefully help another family that has been affected by cancer