Butler County Fair: How one club is rallying around a family faced with lymphoma diagnosis

Teen has been in hospital for more than 7 weeks.

Credit: Sean Scott

Credit: Sean Scott

When Kaylin Commins, 14, last participated in the Butler County Fair, she was side by side with her sister Kenley, 15. After a three-year break from participating, she was looking forward to getting to show their pigs together. But now, she’s going it alone.

In June, Kenley was diagnosed with lymphoma. Monday marked her 54th day in the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Instead of dropping out, Kaylin’s now doubled her efforts and is showing her sister’s pig in addition to her own this week.

“We’ve always been in stuff together,” Kaylin said. “Not having her there is difficult. We both worked so hard for this. We had to convince our parents to even get our parents back in and then all this happen is just out of pocket.”

When Kenley first arrived at the hospital, her dad, Kenyon Commins, said the doctors were almost certain she had leukemia. After a spinal tap, they realized it was a rare form of lymphoma, and since then she’s left the hospital just once on a four-hour pass to see her friends and family.

Kenyon is the head coach for the Ross Rams football team, and his wife Monica is a director of pharmacy at the UC Health West Chester Hospital. While Monica hasn’t left Kenley’s side, Kenyon said Kaylin is her next biggest supporter.

“Next to mom, Kaylin’s been the biggest support giver to Kenley, rubbing her feet and hands, her legs and everything else. Kaylin’s been very special throughout this whole thing.”

Kenley has four to five rounds of chemotherapy left to go through. Kenyon said that it’s been a hard experience as a parent, but the support they’ve gotten from his coaching community, 4-H, the fair and more has been humbling. Kenley and Kaylin are members of the Blue Ribbon Kids 4-H club, which has put together a Friends of Kenley fundraiser to purchase Kenley’s project at the 4-H livestock auction and is accepting donations on Venmo @butlerco-blueribbonkids. Kenyon said he had no idea they were planning to raise money until they posted about it.

“Being able to show her pig meant a lot to me because we both put in a lot of work, but also I have my own pig, too. Being able to lean on my 4-H members and having my 4-H members there if I need something ... allows me to get away for a little bit, maybe go see my sister for a little,” Kaylin said.

Kaylin and Kenley’s brother, Kolton, is also at the fair this week. Beyond helping fundraise, Kenyon said their friends in 4-H have let Kaylin stay in their camper, and other members are helping where they can to make sure the family is okay.

“It’s great for Kenley to know that Kaylin’s there showing her pigs,” Kenyon said. “They’re such a big support system together. For Kenley to know Kaylin’s out there is great, and for me and mom, that makes our heart pretty daggone happy. It’s just not every day you see siblings that get along and care for each other like Kenley and Kaylin do.”

2023 Butler County Fair

The 173rd Butler County Fair is open today through Saturday. The fairgrounds are located at 1715 Fairgrove Ave., Hamilton. Gates open at 7 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. daily.

General daily admission is $10 per adult and includes parking. Children ages 6-12 with a paying adult are $5 at the gate.

About the Author