Kinley Sexton

CNE Schools host fundraiser for 6-year-old DIPG patient, family

By Dick Maloney

The bright light shining through the dark winter evening this Friday, Jan. 18, will come from Clermont Northeastern Middle School.

There, district staff, friends and family of 6-year-old Kinley Sexton, and people who have never met her but are aware of her story, will gather for dinner and a silent auction, with all proceeds going to Kinley’s family to help with medical expenses. The fundraiser is 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the CNE Middle School cafeteria.

Kinley has been diagnosed with DIPG, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. She has a tumor on the back left of her brain and has been receiving treatment.

CNE district nurse Lori Diekmann approached administration with the idea for the fundraiser, which came from her memories of spaghetti dinners and basket raffles, athletic fundraisers when she started working at CNE.

“I have 15 years as an oncology nurse,” Diekmann, a 1988 CNE graduate, said. “Everyone knew we needed to do something (for the family).”

Diekmann also presented the idea to Sexton’s mom, Ashley, and she supported it. Kinley has three brothers – Colton, Case and Kane.

She then got approval from district administration, including Superintendent Michael Brandt, Assistant Superintendent Wayne Johnson and Dean of Students T.J. Dorsey.

“It’s Lori Diekmann’s baby, it’s her idea. She came to me and said I think we need to have this fundraiser and you’re helping me,” Johnson said. The two work together on the district’s annual senior citizens luncheon in December.

“We pulled in T.J. Dorsey for his technology skills,” Johnson said, noting that Dorsey put together flyers and other promotional materials, and coordinated social media mentions.

“I am overwhelmed with all the positive support from everyone all over Cincinnati,” Dorsey said. “We have had donors from all over. People continue to call asking how they can help. At the end of the day it is our goal to show the Sexton family how much we care how about them and we can do that by raising as much money as possible. “

Johnson has a history with the Kinley and her family.

“Kinley was in preschool when she was diagnosed, and I had her grandfather at school, so I’ve been aware of the family,” he said.

“Kinley is now in kindergarten. She goes every day and is really as typical a kid as you can be at this point. The family doesn’t ask for anything. They’ve been the same all along and aware of what they need to do. Feeling bad is not in the cards.”

Diekmann said Kinley is “a fighter. Her mom’s a fighter. She hasn’t said one negative thing, not anything. She’s such a little warrior.”

The family is not alone in its battle. Diekmann and Johnson both marveled at the support they have received.

“The response has been overwhelming. The school community has gone out of sight. People have been waiting to do something to help,” Johnson said. “I will stand up at a rotary meeting or wherever and tell the story and sell 10 tickets and have $170,” Johnson said. “We’re just hoping to hit it out of the park.”

Everything needed for the event has been donated, including almost 100 items for a silent auction, such as themed baskets for kids and adults (date night, spa, sports and adult beverages) to taxidermy, sides of beef, a load of gravel, a mini motorbike, leaf blowers, a custom designed house plan, photo sessions, pitching lessons, zoo passes and gift cards.

Minimum bids will be posted on each silent auction item. At the end of the night, the person with the highest bid will take home the basket. The silent auction is cash or check only.

Kindergarten teacher Shannon Backer said Kinley has a large team behind her.

“I have been blow away at the selflessness  and dedication of the CNE staff and community since Kinley was diagnosed in the spring,” Backer said. “This dinner has provided another opportunity for the community to show their heart and their love for the Sexton family. The Sextons are well-established members of the CNE family and their strength, resilience, and positivity are shown daily through Kinley.”

Cincinnati Print Solutions printed the tickets, free of charge, Johnson said.

“Our goal is 1,000 people,” he said.

The CNE reserve and varsity boys basketball teams are at home Friday night, so Johnson hopes people will come for dinner and then attend the game.

“There was no doubt in my mind that the CNE staff, the community, would support this,” Diekmann said. “This has gone way beyond my expectations how it all fell into place.”

Tickets are $10 and available at the middle school office and from district staff.  CNE Middle School is at 2792 U.S. 50 in Owensville.

For more information, call 685-1401 or email Johnson at Information is also available on the district’s Facebook page, (@CNESchoolDistrict).

About CNE Schools

CNE, in partnership with the community, will provide students with the skills and exploratory experiences that enable them to reach their fullest potential. To accomplish this, the CNE staff will:


• Strive to make children confident and creative builders of their future

• Research, design, and provide the best academic program and learning environment possible for students.

Schools in the CNE District include Clermont Northeastern High School, Clermont Northeastern Middle School, Clermont Northeastern Elementary School and Clermont Northeastern Preschool.