Stories

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Joel Diaz

Hi, I am Joel Diaz from Riverside, CA I am 18 years old and I go to a continuation High School. I am honestly very sorry for your loss, but I am pleased to tell you that I have been given Kenny’s clothes at my school for people who need it I am grateful to know the story behind the clothes I have received. My sincere condolences to his family and all who loved him I may not have known him personally but his story has helped me became a better person.

I also enjoy helping people no matter the situation and I am honored and blessed to know that I have a good man’s clothes I appreciate it very much and I hope the best for his family. Once again my sincere condolences and God bless everybody and I will be making a donation soon. Thanks for the clothes and the clothes are in good hands and I will keep these clothes in my life for as long as I can.

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Jennifer Nery

Hi, Gary. I don’t know you personally. I am Lourdes’ sister. I just want to extend my condolences to your family. My heart breaks for your loss:( Your open letter to Kenny brought us tears. It could only come from a loving and hurting father. We are very sorry that Kenny is gone too soon. We can only imagine how difficult and trying this time must be for you and your family. But we are hopeful that Kenny’s memory and the love you share with your family will keep you strong and faithful. I hope there is some consolation in knowing that Kenny felt loved and cared for until his very last days and that he no longer have to feel pain. We admire how loving and beautiful your family is. Thank you for sharing Kenny’s story, his life and journey on the web. I hope it would help others who maybe going through the same situation. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

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Holly (Eibs) Bunje

Kenny, I don’t know if you remember who I am, but you made a big impression on 13-year-old me 🙂 You sat behind me in 8th grade yearbook class and I thought you were so funny and sweet, I constantly made up excuses to turn around and talk to you. You were one of my first big crushes, I was just too shy to tell you. For the last song of the 8th grade dance, I tried to ask you to dance but as I was walking over, another girl beat me to it. So, now that it’s been 22 years, you can know that there was another girl in junior high who loved your smile 🙂

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Melissa Froh

I had the pleasure of meeting this young man, it was brief but more meaningful than most encounters I have ever had. From the moment I met Kenny and his incredible friends, I found myself simply at ease and sharing with them my life story ( how boring ) ! They soon learned I was a therapist and later asked if would work on Kenny. It was by far the greatest gift I have ever been given….he had been fighting brain cancer for several months, he was in a wheel chair and couldn’t say too much. He really didn’t have to say anything at all .. you could just feel that you were in the presence of pure goodness , his eyes showed it all and his family and friends only proved me right. I am not sure if he remembered me but let me tell you I will NEVER FORGET him. He makes what I do worth doing.. My love and prayers go out to Kenny’s family and Friends …Rest in Peace, GOD is with you !

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Anne Manning-Rusk

Hey, Kenny!
We didn’t really run in the same circles in middle or high school, but I remember you very clearly as a very friendly, smiley, energetic guy! It meant a lot to me that you were always so nice since I was so not popular :-). Thank you for sharing your smiles with me. I wish you and your family all the grace and peace and enduring love that the world has to offer.

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Alicia Hoyer

Kenny – We are all praying for you, for your family and for your friends. It’s been years since I’ve seen you, but that smile and fun loving heart hasn’t been forgotten. Fight this battle like you have never fought before. We are all here to support you in anyway that we can.

With love and prayers….
Alicia

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Mandy Ochoa – Huntsman

Kenny – I’m not sure if you’re reading this but I just wanted to send you my heart felt prayers and love. You were my first guy bestie & crush! When I look back at my days as a Gage gator I can’t help but to remember the hours I spent on the phone with you, Morgan and Noel. So many silly memories and crank calls. Who can forget our first little date to the movies in canyon crest. I believe it was both of our first kiss. We were watching some skate boarding movie and you totally turned around to kiss me and got my nose instead of my mouth, haha… just a little awkward! I thought you were the bee’s knees and I’m sure there’s a diary entry or two about you and your awesomeness somewhere at my parents house. One of my favorite memories is heading down to the beach with you and having you teach me how to surf. Well attempt to teach me how to surf. I remember the ride down in the mini van with your mom driving of course (since we were probably in 7th or 8th grade). SO much fun. You started my love affair with the ocean and all things surf. Thank you for that! I am praying for a speedy recovery for you and know if anyone can beat this it’s you. Sending you good vibes, many blessings and sunshine your way my old friend.

God Bless. – Mandy Ochoa Huntsman

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Jason Perez

Kenny, my ol’ friend. I don’t have much of a story but I do want you to know that you are in my prayers. If there is anyone that can beat something like this it would be you. You have always been that free spirit, no worries kinda guy, when we hungout that positive feeling always felt good to be around. It’s been a long time buddy, but you get better and sooner than later I will let you buy me a beer! Hahaha! You da man Kenny!

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Tracy Francisco dominice

Hi Kenny~
We don’t know each other…but I went to Elementary School with your buddy Greg Garcia…He shared your link on his FB page…
I wanted to send you much ALOHA and healing energy for your RECOVERY and LIFE! YOU WILL HEAL! I can see it in your smile…..
Keep pushing towards your future by living one day at a time…
I’m inspired by your strength…think of the ocean and the WAVES rolling in for you Brudda! They await your return…

Tracy Francisco dominice

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Sarah Peach

Posted to FaceBook October 17, 2012:
I know that many of you make fun of me for all of my ridiculous FB posts (particularly my obsession with food), but lately, my heart hurts for a friend and I have been unable to do anything for him… until now. Tonight, I write to tell you about a longtime friend, Kenny Melton who I’ve always loved, admired and been in awe of for his ability to draw people toward him with his incredible mega-watt smile. That smile made me follow him around as a geeky, brace-faced 13 year old just aching to be noticed by the super-cool dude in board-shorts at the River, made me envy his social abilities as I stumbled around as a lost soul in San Diego just having “failed” at my first attempt at college, and made me want to crawl out of my psychological swamp to rejoin the land of the living and begin participating again in all the beauty and humanity the world has to offer after my mom died, when he convinced me to just get on a plane (Don’t think. Just do it.) and visit him in China to that I could simply sit next to him, staring out over a silent lake, without saying a word, in a misty tea garden. I went home, got back on track, graduated from UCLA and got into law school. As I struggle with THAT monstrosity, until recently, rarely a week went by without a hysterical and completely inappropriate text or email from KenDog reminding me that sarcasm, laughter, surfing, sun, good friends and camp fires were still out there in the world and that my frustrations were not to be all encompassing. I cannot explain how much love and respect I have for this dude. If I had to point to a single person who has lived life to its fullest, taking chances on friendship, on love, on luck and coming out the other side having changed every person who has been lucky enough to interact with him in all the BEST ways, it would be Kenny. He respects everyone. He changes everyone. He lives in a way I wish I had he energy to emulate. He LIVES. And he’s in a great deal of trouble. He has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor and he needs donations. Please, if you value a planet made more beautiful through the presence of compassionate, caring, spiritual people, then please help us to keep this truly remarkable individual on this planet that much longer. This world could afford to loose someone like me. It CANNOT afford to loose someone like Kenny. Please visit www.superkenny.org for more of his story and to make a donation. He helped me to climb the Great Wall of China after having spent years in the hospital so that I could look out over a sprawling, green world in order to realize that I could shake off my despair and dive into life in again. Please, please help me to return the favor, because this climb is going to be much, much harder for him.

I love the shit out of you Kenny. Know that.

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Charlene Menefee

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Kenny for a couple years now through Jeff and Angela. Every time Jeff and I would go into Capri Blue Kenny would instantly welcome us with open arms like we were more than friends, we were family. I always loved hearing his stories and what was going on in his life at the moment; as well as sharing ours with him. Nothing but great times, lots of laughs, and great company! Thank you Kenny for being you! You’re a true inspiration and just an amazing person, man, friend, and much much more! You are in my thoughts and prayers nonstop.

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Mary Keenan

Kenny, I have known you since 1999 when I lived on Bay Avenue and you worked for BJ’s. You were always so great, bringing us whatever we wanted, even if it meant you stopping at a store to pick up soda. I think we ordered at least twice a week and would even make sure to ask “is Kenny working”? You were such an awesome young man back then and you always had that smile on your face in spite of the fact that I know at times after a few bottles of wine we could be annoying. A couple of years later as I walked up the stairs on 34th street and I saw you sitting in the living room I was surprised and asked what are you doing here. Your reply “these are my parents”. Then it all came together. It explained why you are such and incredible man-your family. You are truly a chip off the old block and the love that comes out of that house is amazing. I just want you to know that I feel so lucky to be part of your wor ld and I know you are going to beat this!!! Welcome home today!

Much love. Mary

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A prayer for Kenny

Dear God,

It’s been quite awhile since I have prayed. Usually, it’s over a meal during thanksgiving, or when I really want something, or when I’m in a desperate circumstance. This is that desperate circumstance. My friend Kenny has a brain tumor. I have known Kenny for several years now and probably only talked to him a handful of times, but I feel like I have known him all my life. There is a reason why people are drawn to him. There is a reason why I feel like I have known him so long. There is a reason why his friends and family fly in from all over the country to visit him during this difficult time. Kenny is genuine. His love for his family and friends is genuine. The love for the people he meets, the students he teaches, it’s always genuine. He makes people feel loved because he loves them without judgment or condition. It took a tumor to get us to realize how important people like Kenny are in our lives and how much we truly love someone, but Kenny never needed a tumor to understand that. He personified that understanding in the way he lives his life. To have this happen to a person like him is a crime. There seems to be this unfair balance in the world where bad things happen to good people. It’s really easy to hate you right now, to blame you, to question you. I have to blame someone for this situation and you seem like the perfect scapegoat. The only problem is that although it is easy to be angry at you, I need you all the more. Despite good doctors, modern medicine, and a little bit of luck; Healing Kenny and comforting his family and friends seems like a job for the supernatural. There are people desperate for your help. People are praying everyday for you to do something. Please hear their prayers. I pray that whatever your will is in this situation that it favors Kenny’s complete recovery. I pray that Kenny has the courage to ask you why, and that you give him peace in your answer . I pray his family and friends find comfort in the progress that Kenny makes and in that smile with which he does it. I pray that in the future we can all pray a prayer of thanks, that we get many more years to love Kenny like he has loved us. I pray you be with Kenny every moment of the day. And although I know super Kenny can brighten any situation and bring a smile to others around him, I pray you give something for Kenny to smile about. I pray you give him what he has given to all of us. Love.

Amen

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Tony Kendall

Kenny haven’t seen you in a while but the last time a saw you we were surfing 11 th st together . It wasn’t very good but seeing you in the water and talking story between the sets made it fun. You made it fun! So whenever I surf 11th st I always think of that time and smile and can feel you surfing right along side me . Ill catch a few for you until we can get you back out there again with us. Sending you all my aloha and mana !

-Tony and Takima Kendall

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April Baker

I have seen first hand just how important Kenny is to the students and staff at Mount Miguel (plus to a “gazillion” other people based on what I’ve seen on the Facebook page) and my thoughts and prayers are with you through this fight!

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Jenn Stine

Dear Kenny,

We are so sad to hear of your diagnosis, but know your kind heart, strong will and determination, will serve you well. We have been missing you at Capri Blu and asked last night where you were. When we heard your news, we were shocked and saddened. When our son, Matt, heard what has happened, he said to everyone at the table, “We should pray for him.” So over pizza our family said a prayer for you led by our son, Matt. You have always been a warm person with a bubbly personality, who we always loved to visit for friendly service and a warm, kind smile. You are missed so much, and we pray for you daily. You are in our hearts and minds. Stay strong!!!

Love, the Stine Family

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Helen Melton Hardy

Hi Kenny! It’s grandma. Tammy is helping me write this to you. I’m glad to hear (and see) that you’re doing better. I liked your “pillow punching” video. You looked as handsome as ever! Hope to see you soon!

All my love,
Grandma

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Matt Cram

KEN-DAWG!

You my friend are a truly genuine GOOD person and this stupid cancer can kick rocks! I’m so glad you’re getting the best treatment and have a huge support group around you. I’m thinking of you constantly and can’t wait for the time we can share a surf and a beer!! I know you’re a fighter and you’ll get through this rough time. All my love, prayers, and thoughts are sent your way.

-Matt

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Cyndi Schmid

Aloha Kenny!You were one of my first memories of Cali. I would come into the bar with my sis, Bridgette, who tried on numerous occasions to get you to come hang with us due to that amazing smile! So happy to see you rockin that smile during this challenging time.
You truly are an inspiration to us all!!! Keep up the positive energy and beat the crap out of this challenge!Sending you smiles and good vibes.CyndiP.S. Just when I thought you couldn’t look better, I saw the pic of you with a shaved head. HOT!

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Cousin James

Hey man,I just wanted to share something that I never realized until all this craziness went down. You are and always have been my biggest role model. As a little kid without an older brother I had you to look up to. While a part of my admiration was surely just a child seeing an older “cool kid”, that admiration has only grown stronger with the passing of time. Its been a while since I physically looked up to you but the content of your character still gives me neck sprains. Thank you for your example, it is rare and I am extremely grateful for it.

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Corinne & Mike Campbell

Kennyyyyy!!!! We miss you!! Bestest bartender EVER!!!!!!! You are doing amazing well in your recovery so far….good sign for things to come! You are young, upbeat, positive, good person – exactly what you need to beat this thing! Capri Blu just isn’t the same without you! We need you back! Nobody else remembers to bring Mike his FOURTH cosmo…and they just don’t have your devilish smile over the rim of the glass! We will be cheering you on along with everyone else tonight at Capri Blu….we’ll have the SuperKennyCosmo (or 4 in Mike’s case) to toast your speedy and full recovery! Be well our friend….and we hope to see you soon!

P.S. You know Mike the Physicist, he can’t resist an opinion….he says to tell you to be sure to look into Proton Therapy for radiation – it is the best and most effective for brain cancers. It is expensive and probably not covered by all insurances, but it is the absolute BEST thing for you full recovery! It is new and is being used at UCSD and other major cancer centers. He also says to transfer to a regional cancer center in your area….they have the latest and most aggressive forms of therapy – even if your current Oncologist says he knows the best….they just don’t. The rate of success at cancer centers almost doubles the rate of success anywhere else! You know he will be bending Michelle’s ears about it all night!

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Lauren Vasil

Dear Kenny,

We’ve never met but I’m Jenny’s sister-in-law. Just wanted to send you my best wishes for a full and speedy recovery. We’re all rooting for you!

Lauren x

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Nancy Casadona

Kenny!!!! I think you know why Joann & I spent most of our time sitting at the bar of Capri Blu. Not only was it because of your great looks, it was also your beautiful personality, your warm heart, your incredible service & so much more. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, keep raising your head & be positive. You have so much power, we know you can get through this. Know that you have so much love & support from many friends & family!!! Continue to have confidence & hope. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVEUP!!!!!We love you, Kenny!!

Love, “The Twins”
Nancy & Joann

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Well Wisher

Hi Kenny,

You don’t know me but I was touched when I read your story. I’ve never met you but I’m praying for you and your family. My little brother; who’s name is also Kenny, is also a fighter and survivor. He survived complete kidney failure and had a kidney transplant just before his 21st birthday. The meds he has to take daily for the rest of his life suppress his immune system and has led to many other issues in the last 8 years. His positive attitude, strength, courage and healthy living make him one the most inspiring person I’ve ever met. I believe anyone named Kenny is one tough cookie 🙂

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Maria Garcia

Kenny, I know that all of the students and staff at Mount Miguel are thinking about you and miss seeing you everyday. I have seen how much your presence both in and out of the classroom has impacted our entire school community. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I know your spirit lives on in our students even though you’re not here. Just know we’re all thinking of you and how you’re going to kick cancer’s butt! Sending you good vibes and many blessings throughout this fight.

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Becky Veen

Kenny, you were one of the first friends of Shawn and Adina that I met when I moved out here nine years ago, and you’ve been one of my favorite people ever since. Although we don’t see each other often, I can always picture the famous Kenny smile when I hear your name. You are one loved fella, and it warms my heart to see just how many folks you have left a mark on, whether it was meeting you once or knowing you through the years. Keep up that contagious and positive energy! And be sure to eat plenty of ice cream 🙂

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Drew Tichawa

Kenny – Even though I only met you for that one weekend this past July when you came to Chicago with my cousin Grant, you still feel like family bro. I’ll never forget all the fun we had over that weekend in Wrigleyville. Get well pal. I want to see you back here next summer. Stay strong.

-Drew

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Karlene Blood

Kenny has always been like a big brother to me. I didn’t have a brother growing up so it was pretty cool when my new jr. high friend, Megan, had one around. And to top it off, he was hot! All of us girls were pretty giddy around Kenny to begin with, but as Kenny does, he always made us feel welcome. It was clear early on that Kenny was going to take on that brotherly role …sooooo, I just dated all of his friends instead! 😉

However, Kenny has been more than just Megan’s big brother. He has been a true, lifelong friend. We all grew up from kids on Sundance to adults together. I think back to so many fun memories growing up and almost all of them include Kenny. Kenny was there for a lot of firsts…first high school parties, first proms, first driving experiences, first camping trips, first time to Costa Rica, first hostess job, the list goes on. And in every experience, Kenny was that person who made sure everyone was having a good time. Of course, he made sure we were being safe like a good big brother does. It didn’t matter where we were (Laughlin, Riverside, Mexico, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Costa Rica, BJ’s) Kenny made sure we were all living the “pura vida.” Kenny used to always part ways with Meg and I by saying “Don’t be good!” which translates to “Go have fun!” That is exactly what Kenny has done in his life and he the aches everyone he meets to live everyday to its fullest. He makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room at a party. He makes sure you are having fun and feel safe in every situation. Kenny has left lasting impressions on family and friends all over this world.

When I try to figure out why Kenny (someone who is so happy, healthy and carefree) has been dealt this huge battle, I can only guess that this trial is not for him. Maybe it’s for us. Once again Kenny is the teacher, the protector, the jokester and the person who is opening our eyes to why we’re all here. Kenny jokes about cancer when we’re all falling apart, Kenny smiles and makes sure we feel welcome when we come visit, and Kenny protects his family and friends when he is the one who needs protecting right now. Nevertheless, Kenny has never been one to sweat the small stuff in life or worry about frivolous things, and neither should we. Kenny has never valued material possessions or surrounded himself with a certain type of people, and neither should we. Kenny hasn’t taken life for granted or waited to do something he wanted to do, and neither should we. We all need to be more like Kenny…be more welcoming, live more light-heartedly, go to places we want to go, make relationships with people we normally wouldn’t meet, and be the friend or family member that is reliable and protective, just like the big brother everyone needs.

Kenny, you have been that to all of us. We are all fighting with you, laughing with you, and here for you always. XOXO love ya brotha, Karlene

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Cindy De Mint

Kenny, I remember back to the first night we met. Your house was being robbed… we drove up the street to find your Mom and her kids outside not sure what to do. I ran you and Megs into the house while Gerry and Ron ran in with a baseball bat to scare the intruded off. During the time we were waiting for the police you were so concerned for your Mom and Megan telling her it would be OK. Not until later getting to know your family did I realize how much love you have for them. After all the years on Sundance Trail I wanted you to know how much all the boys in the neighborhood looked up to you and of course all the girls wanted to marry you…haha! You were always around for anyone of them. It has been a pleasure watching you grow up to the man your are. There hasn’t been a visit to 34th street that I haven’t seen your smile or heard stories of your next adventure, you make your Momma so proud! With that said, the grace and strength y ou have shown during these uncertain times isn’t a surprise it is just you:) Keep up the fight, you have more smiles to pass on….

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Kimberly Zazueta

Mr.Melton it’s the girl with the messy hair 😉 . I known you for most of my high school years, you are one the best student teachers ever! Even though we had our up and down moments I have always looked up to you. There is not one day were you don’t pass my mind. All your students here at Mount Miguel really miss you. Reading your updates, seeing that you are getting better makes me so happy. I am really looking forward seeing you again. You are a very strong man and I am sure you are going to crush this cancer. I love the name they gave you, Super Kenny. You are super in all your family, friends, and students. Just know Mr.Melton that you are always in my prayers. I’m going to be checking to see how you doing. ^.^

Love your favorite student Kimberly Zazueta! . (: