Benefit in memory of two-year-old Giovanni Turner - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Benefit in memory of two-year-old Giovanni Turner


Two-year-old Giovanni (pronounced Joe) Turner loved to dance and loved animals.

"Despite everything he went through, he was always happy," said Kari Ohlenkamp.

Giovanni was born with a teratoma tumor on his neck. It was removed when he was seven months old, but it was not cancerous.

However, a little more than a year ago Kari Ohlenkamp took her son to the emergency room because he was limping.

After x-rays, hospital staff believed it was cancer.

"I wasn't prepared to hear that," said Ohlenkamp.

Giovanni had a tumor on his hip.

"He was admitted immediately for more testing, and he was diagnosed with stage four rhabdomyosarcoma. It had metastasized to his right lung," said Kari Ohlenkamp.

Doctors told Ohlenkamp her son's cancer was incurable. Chemotherapy could extend his life, but there was only an 18 percent chance he would even survive the chemo.

"His regimen was for 54 weeks of chemo within those 54 weeks six weeks of radiation," said Ohlenkamp.

While going through the treatments, Ohlenkamp said her son seemed a lot like a normal toddler.

"He still walked and jumped and played having that tumor in his hip. The tumor took his whole bone, so there was no bone in there," she said.

At the beginning of April, Giovanni's health took a turn for the worse. The family had just taken a week-long trip to Disney World through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Four days later, Giovanni lost his battle with cancer.

Kari Ohlenkamp hopes her son's death raises awareness about childhood cancer and reminds people to be thankful and enjoy life, just like Giovanni did.

"He enjoyed life everyday," she said.

A benefit in memory of Giovanni Turner is set for Saturday, April 27th at 4 p.m. It's at the Moose Lodge in Washburn. The fundraiser will feature face painting, a silent auction, a bake sale and music by the Brazilian 2wins.

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