Diane DeWinter Diane DeWinter’s story began in 1995 when her son Michael “Pooch” Kamke designed…
If you’ve ever visited the annual holiday staple, Candy Cane Lane, you likely know that it’s a long-standing neighborhood tradition. What you may not know is that this annual tradition was started to support young Jeremy Kline who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 1985. We were able to speak with Jeremy’s mother, Kathy, and she shared the inspiring story.
The Klines had no idea how drastically their lives were about to change when they moved into their home on 95th Street in West Allis, WI. Their family had always loved the holidays and their new neighborhood was the perfect place to celebrate. Every Christmas was like one big block party, with everyone decorating their homes with lights and dressing up as characters. Kathy said that her sons were always so excited to dress up each year.
Start of a Tradition
Then life took a turn and Jeremy became very sick. He was sleeping frequently and throwing up without warning. After a visit to the doctor, he was diagnosed with Medullablastoma. The Klines were told that even with surgery and radiation Jeremy wouldn’t make it to adulthood.
That Christmas, a neighbor of the Klines was determined to make the holidays special for them and others. They began to plan special events and do even more decorating than they had in years past. A neighbor dressed up as Santa, handed out candy canes, and collected donations which were donated to the MACC Fund in Jeremy’s name. That’s when Candy Cane Lane was born.
Despite the initial prognosis, Jeremy is surviving and thriving. In fact, on December 6, Jeremy turned 40 years old! Today, Jeremy lives in New Berlin with his brother Jason, sister-in-law Karen and niece and nephew Mia and Hayden, all who help with his care. Jeremy goes to Curative during the day and works twice a week at Inpro in the Sign Scape division.
“He is very proud to work there and has made many friends”, Kathy tell us. Jeremy also bowls with friends from high school although due to the ongoing pandemic, Jeremy stays close to home for his health.
Even though the Klines no longer live on Candy Cane Lane, Jason continues the tradition by displaying his parent’s Candy Cane Lane decorations, with a few additions each year.
A Message from Kathy
“On December 6, this funny, outgoing, caring young man turned 40! Our family is so thankful that the people that live in Candy Cane Lane continue to carry on the tradition. You are very special people. Thank you for what you do! God bless.”
Want to visit this iconic holiday display? Candy Cane Lane can be found in West Allis, Wisconsin, from Montana Avenue on the north to Oklahoma Avenue on the south, and from 96th Street on the west, to 92nd Street on the east.
The display is free to visit, but any donations are accepted and appreciated. Join in on the holiday fun and help us beat last year’s total of $120,000!