BRUNSWICK, OH — Time is everything; the one thing Kim Nemet wishes she had more of.
“We went through a lot for two years, eight months and three days,” said Nemet. “It was quite a journey.”
Today, she spends most of her time in her backyard tending to her corner, rainbow colored garden honoring her son, Collin.
“I can come out here and say my prayers and it’s just amazing,” she explained. “I made a promise that you know Collin’s going to do what he’s going to do on his side of the rainbow and we’re going to do what we need to do on our side until we’re together again.”
Nemet explained Collin had Medulloblastoma and “was diagnosed the first day of fourth grade with his brain tumor.”
Collin’s brain tumors, as Nemet says, “had a DNA marker on it that said it would always come back.” She went on to say Collin “was actually sent home on hospice two, three different times—really saying that there’s nothing that we could do for him.”
But faith would give Collin the time he prayed for. The middle schooler often prayed.
“Jesus actually came to him in his prayer and told him I’m going to take away your tumors,” Nemet said.
Nemet says that’s exactly what happened each time. Collin’s tumors would disappear for months at a time and her family took advantage. They vowed to make memories, whether at Disney World or at home on two wheels.
“That was a huge accomplishment for him and even after his brain tumor and him being able to ride a bike was like he moved a mountain,” said Nemet.
Collin’s introduction to Trike and Bike
Collin’s passion for bikes sparked when he was a toddler. Nemet says it was mostly due to his father’s love for riding.
“My husband is obsessed with bikes,” she said.
Eventually, their love inspired the Brunswick community to join Cleveland Clinic’s annual Trike and Bike event for the first time in 2020 thanks to Collin’s grandmother, who asked if the city would participate through a letter to city manager, Carl DeForest.
“I thought that’s something we should do,” DeForest said. “I don’t have a lot of friends and Collin was a buddy of mine,” DeForest explained.
The city raised $26,701 that year. This year, its goal is $30,000 as community members vow to honor Collin and so many others fighting his same battle.
“To know that you’re giving back to something that affected a little boy like that was really sobering.”
Trike and Bike is for kids ages 3 to 12 supporting lifesaving pediatric cancer research. The fundraiser benefits VeloSano Kids, which is a part of the Cleveland Clinic’s adult fundraising program, VeloSano, which means “swift cure” in Latin. The year-round event supports research for adult cancers. One-hundred percent of the money raised goes directly towards the research at the Cleveland Clinic.
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children
According to the Cleveland Clinic, one in 285 children will be diagnosed with cancer. In addition, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer since 1980. Yet, the National Pediatric Cancer Foundation reports only 4% of federal government cancer research funding is allocated to study pediatric cancer research.
“What parents want when their kids have cancer is just more time. They just want more time,” Nemet said. “Anything that you can get to give somebody more time is priceless.”
Collin’s last battle with cancer
“In my heart, I knew because he was so special that his place was going to be with God,” Nemet said about Collin.
After months of riding and living life with his family, Nemet remembers Collin getting confirmation from God during a family drive this past holiday season.
“The next thing you know he got really quiet and serious and he said God talked to me again. We’re like, 'what did God say?' And he’s like, 'God told me something's coming.'”
Shortly after, Collin’s scans showed his tumors were back.
“On April 22 of this year Collin passed away from his brain tumor. He went home to be with God,” said Nemet.
Moving on is hard and Nemet says days for her husband and four other children are never the same, but in her garden dedicated to Collin, is where she finds peace.
“He’s just always with me,” she said. “Collin would always say God’s got this, so I know that God’s got this.”