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Community comes together to help Devin stay strong

May 22, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

On Jan. 31, 2018, Devin Charles Kirtley was diagnosed with Anaplastic Ependymoma, a very rare and aggressive type of brain tumor. On Feb. 2, 2018, he underwent a nine-hour surgery at the age of 11 months old. Since that time, he has undergone seven different surgeries and 35 radiation treatments. The tumor was removed, but on Oct. 1, 2018 an MRI revealed recurrent cancer in the same area of his brain stem, several other areas on the back of his brain and the disease has metastasized to his spine. Devin now has Stage 4 Brain Cancer. Sadly, there are no curative options.

"We were told to love on him, fulfill his little bucket list and keep him comfortable," said his mother Alicia Mullins.

Devin is home and receiving care coordination and symptom management by Akron Children's amazing Palliative Care team. Mullins said he has been through a lot for such a young child.

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Devin Charles Kirtley is bringing together a community to help in his fight for life.

"Devin's treatment today consists of weekly physical, occupational and speech therapies," Mullins said. "A massotherapist just started coming in once or twice a month. Palliative Care comes in biweekly or whenever needed. Devin is on oxygen when sleeping, at times because of illness or allergies he may need to be on oxygen 24 hours. He takes 15 different medications daily."

Devin does have insurance that covers most of his care. He does have some things insurance will not cover. Needless to say, the long battle has taken a toll on the family. Devin needs 24/7 care that mom and Devin's grandmother, Lisa Lawton, provide.

Mullins had to quit her job and Lisa has taken an unpaid leave of absence to help care for Devin and his older brother. Devin's grandfather, Rich Lawton, helps also when he's not at work.

As part of "Go Gray in May for Brain Cancer Awareness Month", Mullins got permission to place gray ribbons around the trees on the Village Green.

"The gray ribbons are in Devin's honor, Go Gray in May, for Brain Cancer Awareness," Mullins said. "This little warrior has been fighting for his life since he was first diagnosed at 11 months old. Still he is full of smiles, laughter, love and life. The family, those in the community and all around the world want Devin to know we are in this fight with him. We will continue to walk this journey with him, always hoping and praying for a miracle from God. Also bringing awareness to Devin's disease, pediatric brain tumors are the leading cause of cancer-related death among children and adolescents ages 0-19, surpassing leukemia."

The Cardinal Joint Fire District is also showing support by having shirts made and wearing them in honor of Devin during the months of May and part of June. A portion of the proceeds of the sales of the shirts will go to Devin and his family. Anyone is able to order a shirt by going to

Mullins said the one thing that is needed is prayers. She said the search continues for a treatment that may help, but Devin's life is in the hands of God at this point. Mullins said Devin has made a difference with his short time here.

"The family believes when God created Devin, He instilled a warrior strength and character inside him," she said. "His journey in life has not been easy. Devin is a fighter, with peace and joy inside his heart, and a smile on his face every day. God has changed so many hearts through Devin's battle with cancer already, and there's many more to go. God has big plans for our little guy, we are so thankful and blessed to have him in our lives."



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