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'It means the world to us': Tri-State comes together to support family who lost their 5-year-old son to cancer

The Hudson's Heroes 5K raised thousands of dollars to support the Klotzbach family
Hudson's Heroes 5K
Hudson's Heroes 5K
Posted at 11:44 AM, Apr 22, 2023

HEBRON, Ky. — Hundreds came together Saturday to support a Northern Kentucky family who is continuing to cope from the loss of their son.

Five-year-old Hudson Klotzbach passed away on March 2 after battling cancer for a little over year.

“He was a beautiful kid, a fun kid,” said Jake Klotzbach, Hudson's father.

Hudson was diagnosed with stage 4 Wilms kidney cancer in December 2021 when he was 3 years old. Wilms is the most common kidney cancer in children, but he was battling the most severe form of it.

“Throughout the last year and a half the Klotzbach’s really faced an awful time in their lives,” said Kristen Meyer, committee chair for Hudson’s Heroes 5K Race.

To honor Hudson, family and friends organized Hudson’s Heroes 5K Family Run/Walk. The 5K will also help support the family financially.

“You can imagine the financial burdens of not only having a child that is getting medical care around the clock, but also having two parents that are unable to work as well,” said Danielle Giannini, a committee chair for the race.

Hudson’s parents, Dedra and Jake, have been blown away by the community’s support.

“We just feel so blessed and overwhelmed at the same time that people we don’t even know come to support and honor our son, and it just means the world to us,” Dedra Klotzbach said.

Jake Klotzbach said the support "means the world" to them.

“We’re very grateful that, you know, we moved up here from Knoxville, Tennessee, and we didn’t know anything about Hebron and Cincinnati, but the amount of people who have supported us and been here for us is pretty incredible,” he said.

The Klotzbach family relocated to Northern Kentucky from Tennessee so Hudson could be treated at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

For years, Hudson underwent several rounds of chemo, radiation, transfusions and surgeries. The Klotzbachs said they're still processing the loss of Hudson, but the love they've received from people in the Tri-State has warmed their hearts.

“He was the happiest, sweetest kid. He would just light up a room when you walked in and he was also the strongest kid you could possibly know,” Dedra Klotzbach said.

Prior to Hudson's passing, the community was already rallying behind the Klotzbachs. Perhaps the biggest support during Hudson's fight came in the form of a special "Who Dey" from his favorites in the orange and black.

Hudson Klotzbach gets a visit from Bengals players

Cincinnati Bengals former linebacker Vinny Rey, safety Brandon Wilson, cornerback Allan George and center Ted Karras got an emergency call on Feb. 3 that Klotzbach needed a little help from the friends he watched on Sundays.

"You never want to take for granted the impact football has on people's lives," Karras previously said. "And when the team shared the story with me and the details and wanted a player to come, I jumped all over that."

Both Wilson and Rey, who now serves as the Bengals chaplain, were in attendance at Saturday's 5K. Rey also led attendees in prayer before the race began.

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