Tuesday, July 9, 2013

John's Funeral

Dear Followers: In the days to come we will be posting some comments from people about John's funeral. The following is a link to a news report on KXLY that shows part of the funeral. http://www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/john-knightens-final-call/-/101214/20885916/-/bdutgyz/-/index.html It will also take you to an article that is well written by Author: Rob Kauder, Internet Content Manager, robk@kxly.com

Obituary: Knighten, John F.

KNIGHTEN, John F. (Age 45) A Spokane City Firefighter bravely lost his three-year battle with Multiple Myeloma cancer on June 30, 2013. He was preceded in death by his father Jess and brother Jess Jr. He is survived by his loving wife Shawna; three daughters Ashley, Kasey and Kiley; his mother Sarah; siblings Judy, Robert, Chuck, Paul, Mark, Scott, Doug, Kim, Lisa, Eric, Phil; and many nieces and nephews. Also instrumental in John’s life were the McLeod family, Gary, Norma Jean, Mike, Andy and Erin. His laughter and gregarious smile will truly be missed by all. John served with distinction in the US Marine Corps. Life was always an adventure to John. He loved riding his motorcycle, boating, camping, road trips and anything he could make memories with his family. After 19 years of dedicated service, John was awarded the Spokane Fire Department’s Purple Heart medal on June 6 at the annual awards ceremony. He was specifically recognized for his courage and inspiration to all who ever had the privilege to work with him. A memorial service will be held at the Spokane Convention Center on Monday, July 8 at 1:00 pm. Please visit John’s on-line memorial page at www.hennesseyfuneralhomes.com to leave a message of condolence.

This was posted to facebook by Chris Tabor:
Yesterday, Trish and I attended the funeral service for John Knighten, the husband of Trish's best friend. He was a firefighter here in Spokane for 19 years and a Marine before that. For the past 3-1/2 years, he fought multiple myeloma cancer contracted in the line of duty as a fireman. To say the service was moving and powerful would be a huge understatement. There was an honor guard, awesome slideshow videos made by Shawna's mom, Linda Messerschmidt, presentations by the fire dept, the mayor, and the governor, and a powerful performance of "Amazing Grace" on the piano by John's daughter Ashley. The service concluded with a "Last Alarm Call" for John where his station called for him over the radio and then announced that his duty had been completed. So sad and moving, not a dry eye in the house.

After the service, we were in the processional out to the veterans' cemetery in Medical Lake. They'd closed off a bunch of downtown and our route was lined with hundreds of firemen in front of their trucks, all saluting as we passed by. There were also hundreds of regular folks lining the sidewalk, saluting, hand over their heart, and so on. Such a powerful show of respect and honor. We were just overwhelmed by the display.

The state patrol closed down 8 miles of I-90 for our procession and also the entire road to the cemetery itself. When I looked behind us, I saw a line of fire trucks as far as I could see. They'd come from all over Washington and Idaho to pay their respects.

John was given full military honors at the cemetery, including a 21-gun salute, which is always such a shock to hear.

Besides the service itself, I was moved by the respect, dignity, generosity and brotherhood exhibited by the fire department itself. Hundreds of firefighters were there for the service and several more participated in it as well and the department was heavily involved in the logistics of the funeral itself. They also provided a few firemen who'd volunteered as drivers for people in the funeral party. Nate, the gentleman who drove us, could not have been kinder or more respectful and professional.

All in all, it was an awesome tribute to the life of a man who was loved and respected by many, many people and who gave his life in service to our community and country.

I'd like to say thank you for all the support the Spokane community showed today for my sister, her husband, and for all the family and friends.
I have to say that the services today to celebrate John's life were simply beyond words! Every attention to detail was paid, and I was often brought to tears by the beauty of the procession....the bagpipers...the stories...the pictures and videos...then then flag presentations, bell ceremony, and the last call....John was certainly sent to Heaven in a wonderful, loving, and very fitting celebration!! You and the girls did so well....Ashley playing for her dad was so touching! I felt so blessed to witness such honor and appreciation for not only what John did, but for who he was.....and he was (and is) very loved!! Sending you a very big hug for all the strength and grace you showed today...you are so beautiful....and so are your sweet girls!!! Love you!!
To my family, Shawna Knighten, and the girls we all will miss john and his awesome humor he will always be in my heart. john was my cousin but more like an uncle. I wish I wouldve asked him my question, can I be a fire fighter like you? Rip john my wristband will never come of

What a beautiful tribute to fire fighter, John Knighten today...I was so proud to be there...John is our local hero...Rest in peace, John...You will be missed...

Today was a humbling experience. It was awesome to see all the people that came out to pay their respects for John. The Spokane Fire Department was awesome and the love and support they showed for one of their own was beautiful to see.

What an awesome site driving into downtown, it took my breath away I can only imagine what you were feeling. It was a beautiful celebration of John's life. When you are up for it I would love to get together. Keeping you and the girls in my thoughts and prayers.

I am humbled and overwhelmed to have witnessed the celebration of John today. He deserves it so much, and so do you. Amazing. Please let me know when you are up for visitors and we'll come see you at the house.

it was a beautiful service, Shawna. thank you for letting us view from a far. my heart hurt when i saw you. i loved hearing how you met...i think i remember that. the video tributes...beautiful. John had a stunning smile and loved you and your girls with deep love and so proud. never far apart, always in your heart. hugs.

My friend John Knighten passed away a little over a week ago. He was surrounded by his family. His crew from Station 4 were the first responders on scene. Multiple myeloma, a firefighting related disease, was what took him. He was a hero, having served with honor as both a firefighter and a Marine. He heard his last call bells this afternoon at his memorial service. He will be missed, and everyone who knew him admired him. I had to visit the local firehouse to pay my respects since I was unable to make the funeral service. It was really hard. The kids never knew him, but they know of him, and were happy to send along their own condolences to his family, in their own kid way. I will miss you John, when I think of what a hero is, it is you I picture.

June 8, 2013 declared a Day of Remembrance for John Knighten by Mayor Condon.Shawna Knighten, our love and condolences to you and your sweet girls.

That was a fantastic memorial service, Shawna. It was so nice to be able to watch it half way around the world since I wasn't able to be there in person. Big hugs to you and your family.

Jennifer Vincent Today is going to be a very big day for you and the girls. The firemen family have been so dedicated and thoughtful...attention paid to each detail....they're so wonderful!! I see today as a celebration of the way John lived his life. He was so selfless, so giving, and so in love with his family! He was a fighter to the end! I know he touched and inspired so many people before and during his journey...and like my dad did, he taught the medical community a lot...especially about not counting someone out no matter what the test results show. He had an extraordinary life...one that deserves to be celebrated today and always. I know he will be missed terribly....he made a big impression and someone like John can never be forgotten. My prayers are that you find comfort in the treasure trove of memories you and the girls share. I am lifting you all in prayer this morning. If I don't see you today, I will be there with love and support from wherever I am sitting, and sending you many hugs!! Love you!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Funeral Information

John's funeral is Monday July 8 at 1:00 pm at the Spokane Convention Center. After that service, due to limited space there will be a private family burial and then the family will return to the Convention Center for a Memorial Reception. In the family's absence you are encouraged to wait and view the picture boards. Lemonade and tea will be available and upon the family's arrival back to the Convention center, food will be provided. If you have any comments or special story you would like to share, please take the opportunity to do so during the reception.

For those unable to attend, the funeral will be streamed live.  For those of you who wish to view John's memorial service, this will be the URL for the streaming video from the service on Monday. http://live.streamvuze.com/knightenmemorial

John Knighten LODD
Updated On: Jul 04, 2013

It is with great sadness that the WSCFF and IAFF 29 Spokane announce the line-of-duty death of Firefighter John Knighten.  John lost his three-year battle with multiple myeloma cancer on Sunday, June 30, 2013. When he passed at his north Spokane home, he was surrounded by his wife Shawna and his three beautiful girls Kiley, Kasey and Ashley, along with members of his family. He was 45.
John was a 19-year veteran of the Spokane Fire Department.  He served his country as a Marine and will be buried with military honors.

Memorial Service                                             
Monday, July 8, 2013, 1:00 p.m.          
Spokane Convention Center                       
334 W. Spokane Falls Boulevard                  
Spokane, WA 99201

Procession Destination (details below)
Eastern Veterans Cemetery
21702 W. Espanola Road
Medical Lake, WA 99022

Lodging for out-of-town guests
A block of rooms has been reserved for attendants at The Davenport hotel in Spokane. When reserving your room, please identify yourself as an attendant for John's memorial service. 

After the memorial, a procession, to include family and fire department apparatus, will be formed and guided to a graveside service at 3:00 p.m.  Fire, EMS, and other public safety personnel attending with vehicles are asked to contact Deputy Chief Bob Hanna, bhanna@spokanefire.org,to indicate the vehicle type and if the vehicle will be participating in the procession.  Details on staging will be distributed Sunday, July 7, 2013, and posted on Spokane Fire Department’s website,www.spokanefire.org
For John and his family’s personal story visit www.savejohnknighten.com.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

His battle is over....

July 3, 2013 The Knighten family wishes to extend an apology for not keeping this website updated. You have all shown us compassion through your continued prayers and well wishes for John and our family during this three and half year battle with cancer. You cannot imagine the impact your words and support made in our struggle. All of a sudden, we had hundreds of people supporting John and then it turned to thousands. So many of you have shared your own battles or took time to uplift our family during your own incredible hardships.  Many of you have said that our family's story touched your life, but you are the ones that have touched ours. In our darkest times, all we had to do was read your encouraging words that seemed to give us strength to fight another day. 

The real battle lies ahead. John will be missed by so many. He would want us to continue his legacy and find the adventure in life, but his absence leaves such a void. We will post some excerpts from some of you who knew John and try and fill in the timeline. Thank you for your understanding where we were not timely in posting John's progression with this nasty disease that robbed our children of their father and me of my husband.

June 30, 2013
Dearest family & friends,
it is with a broken heart that I tell you John passed away at 9:05 tonight. He was surrounded with all of us by his side as he took his last breath. He fought bravely right to the very end. His ladder crew just happened to be on shift today so Ladder 4 came and placed a flag over John's body and they personally carried him out of our home. I will post funeral information as we make our final arrangements. I can not thank you enough for all of the love and caring support each of you have shown us every step of the way through our difficult journey.

July 2, 2013 in City

Spokane firefighter John Knighten loses cancer battle

 The Spokesman-Review

Spokane firefighter John Knighten lost his three-year battle with cancer Sunday night.
Knighten, a 19-year veteran of the Spokane Fire Department, former Marine, husband to Shawna Knighten and father of three daughters, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010. He died at his home in Mead.
The blood cancer is one of several the state identifies as a disease presumed to be caused by firefighting and inhaled carcinogens. Because of that, his death is considered to have occurred in the line of duty.
Plans are in the works for a line-of-duty funeral with full military honors.
Knighten, 45, was awarded the Purple Heart in June.
He spent most of his career working at Station 4 in Browne’s Addition, but also worked out of Station 2. He served on several special assignments including the Water Rescue Team, Technical Rescue Team and Wildland Firefighting Task Force.
Members of Ladder 4, the last unit to which Knighten was assigned, and Station 13 removed Knighten from his home after he died, and a fire department procession escorted him to Hennessey Funeral Home.
In a release, Fire Chief Bobby Williams said Knighten exemplified courage during his fight against the disease.
“Throughout his battle with cancer, John maintained an incredible attitude while continuously expressing thanks and appreciation to everyone that offered support and prayers,” Williams said. “His actions epitomized bravery and set a shining example for all of us in how to deal with adversity.”
KHQ.COM - Local firefighter, John Knighten, lost his battle with cancer on Sunday. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this very difficult time.

This was posted Sunday on Facebook:

From the Spokane Firefighter's Facebook Page: It has been a day of great sorrow, we do not have the words to express our feelings. 19 of our brothers lost their lives in AZ today. Our thoughts and prayers are with their brothers, sisters, and families.

However, one of our own, the person pictured on our profile, Brother Knighten lost his battle tonight. He contracted cancer from his work as a Spokane Firefighter. His death is a line of duty death, and all of Local 29 is beyond sad. Please keep his wife and three girls in your thoughts and prayers. Rest in Peace John!

BACKGROUND FROM Savejohnknighten.com:

On 1/2/10 John Knighten, a firefighter in Spokane Washington, while on duty was rushed to the ER unable to breath. John's airway had closed due to an infection called Epiglotitious and he was intubated in the operating room in order to save his life. He spent the next seven days in ICU where his wife begged doctors to carefully review his medical history. John had recently battled other infections including three severe cases of pneumonia in a thirteen month period. She felt that something was being missed, his immune system seemed compromised and she was positive there was an underlying cause. Sadly, further blood-work and testing confirmed  that John had Multiple Myeloma, a serious form of blood plasma cancer.  

This has been a devastating shock to the Knighten family.  John and his dear wife Shawna are the parents to three beautiful young girls: ages 10, 8, and 3.  If John passes away, his youngest daughter may not remember him.  This is a particularly heartbreaking concept as John lost his own father when he was just five years old. 

He was the inspiration when John joined the Marine Corps in 1986.  After serving for four years with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, he joined the Spokane Fire Department in 1994 where he was voted Top Recruit. 

John loves his job and has had no problem putting his life on the line for thousands of men, women and children during his military and firefighting service.  He is a true hero, loved by many. We ask now that you help us save John.  

Two bone marrow transplants are imperative in the fight to save John's life.  Though health insurance covers part of the treatment, the hospital will not agree to schedule the surgeries until the Knighten family can pay the difference up front.  The total cost of the two surgeries and recovery is nearing $500,000 and miscellaneous treatment will surpass even this.  Doctors believe the transplants will dramatically increase John's life expectancy and may even place him into a remission status. 

Please help us help John, a man who has risked his life for so many. Your donation and/or helping us get the word out would mean so much to the Knighten family.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Update April 28, 2013

The last update said that we would travel to Seattle on October 10, 2012. However, one week before we were to leave, a MRI showed John’s brain tumor had returned and unless they could stop the growth there would be no need of the transplant. John underwent three rounds of radiation that appeared to reduce the tumor and stop its growth. Further tests revealed the radiation was successful and John did not have any cancer cells in his brain fluid. The transplant was again on and we arrived in Seattle on January 24, 2013. We left our three girls behind in the care of my mother while we fought to give John more time with them.
John had the first stem cell transplant of his own cells and everything went well. Again, John had another MRI and everything seemed okay as far as the tumor. John’s brother Paul came to Seattle on April 1st to begin the process of donating his stem cells to save John’s life. He harvested 12 million stem cells! The medication given to fight rejection of those stem cells gave John severe nausea. The medication to calm the nausea left John sleeping about 22 hours a day. We were so hopeful waiting for the cells to engraft and give John his new lease on life. Sadly that was not to be. Within days, the tumor began growing with a vengeance. Surgery was out of the question and a team of the best doctors said no options were left and told John, “go home, be with your family.”
Every mile towards home brought us closer to the glaring finality of this journey. But through God’s graciousness it would not be alone. We stopped in Wenatchee so John could say goodbye to his mother and the many friends and family living there. As we traveled closer to Spokane we were unexpectedly met by a motorcycle escort home. We stopped at John’s home fire station for many hugs, well wishes and tears. The firefighters gave John one last ride in the fire truck to our home. When we rounded the corner, the sight was amazing. Hundreds of firefighters, friends and family lined the streets to honor John. We felt blessed to have so many people care about us.
This journey has not been just about John and our family. Each of you has played a major part in your prayers, kind words and the many things you have done to ease our suffering. Words cannot express how much this has meant to all of us and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for traveling this road together with our family. Thank you in advance for your prayers and support in the following days ahead.

Monday, September 24, 2012

9/24/12 Update

Once again, so much has happened since the last post. John had his surgery and if you have seen the incision, this was  much more intense than we realized. An MRI done just before John was put under revealed that the tumor had significantly grown since the MRI taken just two weeks prior. The neuro surgeon felt it was imperative to get as much of the tumor out as he could. After John had healed from the surgery he went through five rounds of radiation in hopes to get the rest of the tumor. He was in extreme pain and never regained feeling in half of his face. The lab results from the tumor biopsy confirmed it was cancer and John's Myeloma had returned.
John then began a stronger chemo treatment and soon had the usual side effects of nueropathy and some hair loss. He has struggled this time with a lot of nausea and fatigue. We were advised from his oncologist to meet with the Seattle team of doctors from Cancer Care Alliance to go over further treatment options. It was there that we learned that John's cancer cells had mutated and taken on a very aggressive form. This explains why the tumor grew so fast. The doctor said she would be very surprised if the cancer had not already reached the brain fluid and if this was the case, John only had about six months to live. As you can imagine this was devastating news to us. John was scheduled for a spinal lumbar which thankfully was good news. This did mean however that he was faced with a very emotional decision. John was told he had reached the point where he needed to make a decision to choose quality of life or fight for quantity. He could continue to fight the cancer with chemo options and get 1-2 years at best but would feel good and be able to make memories with his family. His only other option if he wanted to fight for more time was to undergo a double transplant. The odds are not very good and the treatment is very risky. He would be put through severe rounds of chemo and another transplant using his own stem cells frozen from the first treatment. After about 30 days to heal he would go through a second transplant using donor bone marrow. In his case he has two brothers whom are a perfect match and very willing to help save John's life. He would have about a 45% chance of catching graph vs host disease and could find himself fighting for his life from it. Many patients become severely ill and need to be hospitalized but others have mild cases. If John does survive the transplants, only 25% of patients go on to have "long term" life. There are several studies out there but many do not live past the first year. Regardless of these odds, we all know John is a fighter! He told his family that he could not look his little girls in the eye without knowing he had tried everything possible to fight for more time with them. John lost his own father at the age of 5 and knows too well the pain of growing up without him. Our youngest daughter is five now so this hits so close to home. Many can say what they would choose but spending the last amount of time you may have with your kids making memories or fighting for life in a hospital bed is not to be taken lightly. We all support John's decision and will stand by his side every step of the way.
We once again find ourselves waiting for financial authorization but Seattle is expecting us to check in for treatment on October 10th. This transplant treatment will take 6-8 months. We made a very difficult decision to leave our children at home for now. We want their lives to remain as normal as possible through this. Staying in their own school with family and friends close by offers a support system they need right now. We are blessed to have an amazing church family who has surrounded our family with caring support through this difficult journey as well. My mother has offered to move into our home to care for the girls and we simply could not do this without her help. I can not go as John's caregiver and their mom at the same time. I will travel back and forth from Seattle when John's family can take shifts and then I can be with our girls. As long as John's numbers are ok we will also travel as often as possible with the girls so they can see their daddy. Many emails have already came in asking how people can help, we do not need any donations at this time but friends have offered to send gas cards or donate some air miles to assist with the travel expenses. This has truly been appreciated and will be so helpful especially as the pass becomes unsafe this winter. Above all please continue to keep our family in your prayers and a special prayer of protection for our girls while we are apart. I will try to keep this site updated but if you are on Facebook, you can follow John's story at Save John Knighten

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I have been asked to post an update regarding John. I apologize for the delay but as stated before I have been using Facebook under Save John Knighten to keep in touch. 

A lot has happened since our last post. John has does amazing since the stem cell transplant two years ago. We found ourselves in a desperate attempt to save his life and have since been very blessed with the gift of time to make memories as a family with our three little girls. We can not thank everyone involved enough for making that time possible.

John has been on a maintenance therapy of daily chemo in hopes to delay the Myeloma returning. All of his labs and monthly monitoring have been well. Everything was going great until a little over a month ago when he began feeling some pain in his jaw. This mild pain turned into severe pain within a few days. The next day half of his face had gone numb. It took over a week to get an MRI authorized and our fears were confirmed that John had a tumor. The tumor had been pressing on a nerve at the jaw joint which is now permanently damaged. The tumor is right behind his eye socket. We met right away with a radiologist and Neuro surgeon who confirmed due to the tricky location, the tumor is not operable. They have decided to do surgery in hopes to get a biopsy. The Neuro surgeon will make a question mark like incision in the side of John's head just above his ear. He will drill a hole in the skull and then remove a section of John's brain in order to access the tumor. The biopsy will tell them what kind of tumor we are dealing with so that a treatment plan can be made. If the tumor is Myeloma based it actually responds very well to radiation and they could probably get most of it. However if not Myeloma related, it means that John has more than likely developed a secondary cancer due to all of the chemotherapy he has been given. This is bad for the tumor. We have been told it takes very high doses to treat a tumor like this. We were told radiation almost never can get all of it and it only takes one single cell left to begin growing right back. So we left there very discouraged of course. As if this stress was not enough, we had to play yet another waiting game trying to get this surgery "authorized". Meanwhile John continued to be in so much pain and worry. Surgery was finally scheduled and we go in tomorrow morning at 7am. The surgery should take about three hours and then he will be in ICU to be monitored closely for any brain bleeds or complications. If everything goes well, he will be moved to a regular hospital room to continue healing and pain management. John is going to be pretty sore because they have to cut through the muscle that controls the opening and closing of his jaw. Again if everything is going well he should be able to come home in 2-3 days after that. Once the biopsy results come back, we will know what our treatment plan options are. 

We again want to thank each and every one of you for your continued caring support through this difficult journey. 
Sincerely, The Knighten Family    

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bringing You Up To Date...

I want to begin with a sincere apology for not doing a better job of staying in touch with all of you. When this website was created by a family member, we had every intention of using the blog to post a daily update of John's journey through his cancer treatment. Our lives just became so busy and with so many of you following on Facebook we ended up communicating there instead. We can not begin to thank you enough for all of your caring support you have shown our family through this difficult and emotional time. Your generous donations, thoughtful wishes and most of all your prayers were truly appreciated! We felt surrounded with support every step of the way.

I need to share with you the best part of this update...JOHN IS IN REMISSION!!!

Last year as you know we were devastated to learn that John could not be scheduled for a transplant until the funds were paid up front in full for $311,000.00, of which only $250,000.00 was covered by our insurance. At the time this was so overwhelming but with your help we raised enough money to pay for all of the expenses not covered. John and I left our home in June and lived in Seattle for almost four months. He did amazing and tolerated a very intense treatment of chemotherapy. John had his stem cell transplant on August 23rd and I was able to bring him home at the end of September. He has continued to receive follow up care with his oncologist here and recently had a series of test done including another bone marrow sample to re-stage the cancer. We learned that for now John's cancer is in remission. This news came with so many blessings. We have been given the gift of life and more time! We know that each day together is a gift and we now cherish all the little things that we have learned actually matter the most. The sound of laughter in the giggles from our daughters, making time to get together more often with our family and friends, no longer putting off things for a more convenient time and most of all making as many memories as we can squeeze in. John has returned to full duty as a firefighter and feels great!

Thanks to your support, medical technology, a brilliant team of doctors, lots of prayer and God's grace, John is here...alive today with a VERY hopeful tomorrow! I watch him trying to live each day to its fullest and teaching his daughters valuable lessons now for the time when he is no longer here. Reality is that Multiple Myeloma is a terminal cancer so we know that it will come back someday. We will be ready and stronger than before to fight it again when that day comes. John still has more stem cells frozen and ready for the next transplant. When those are gone he has two brothers that are a perfect match to his bone marrow. With every day comes new research, fewer fatality rates from treatment and maybe even a cure! With every day comes a chance for another miracle. John is a fighter and he knows that he has more life in him to live, more dreams to see come true and needs more time to be here for his family. We all should live like we are dying and make the most of every day! None of us know that when we hug the ones we love, it could be for the last time.

Thank you again for being a special part of saving John's life and giving him more time. We are contemplating shutting down the website since most of you have been following John's journey through Facebook. If you are not already, please become his friend at Save John Knighten.

We have been so blessed and plan to make the most of it. John... a husband, father, Marine, Fire Fighter and now a an example to all of us to never give up and keep fighting.

With love and thanks, the Knighten Family