The Sitch

On 10/7/2013, Mikaela Knapp was diagnosed with cancer. Over the course of testing in the subsequent weeks, her cancer was identified as metastatic translocation renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Mikaela immediately started treatment at University of California, San Francisco, completing a round of Sutent, Axitinib, and Afinitor, gamma knife brain radiation, spinal radiation, whole brain radiation, and several rounds of Torisel, .

In March, after exhausting all of the FDA-approved options our oncologists felt could help Mikaela, we decided to push for compassionate use access to the anti-PD-1/L1 immunotherapies of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, and Merck which are currently in clinical trials. For more info, see our petition.

With hope,


21 thoughts on “The Sitch

  1. Kurt, I was on Interleukin 2 for metastatic melanoma. I know there are many that have had success with this therapy for renal cell carcinoma. I will be praying and pulling for Mikaela! I had treatment with David Minor in San Francisco at CPMC. He also treats renal cell.

  2. Justin says:

    Hi, not that this is a biggie but I noticed Merck was spelled Merch, just to help clarify for readers

  3. Signed your petition on and am spreading the word to my friends. Thinking and praying for you guys. ❤

  4. wilburrobinson says:

    What about interleukin-2? Inlyta? Avastin? Afinitor? Votrient? Not sure if “The Sitch” post is not up to date, but there are quite a few FDA approved treatments for mRCC that have not been tried.

    • keithknapp says:

      Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve added the list of treatments she’s had up to this point. The things we haven’t tried were deemed unwise by her oncologist due to her situation: pneumonia, brain swelling, etc.

  5. Anna Waters says:

    Hi Keith,
    Working with insurance is difficult and daunting. I know this because my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Stomach Cancer two years ago, five days before I had our daughter… My husband Ryan was on something called Everalimus, by Affinitor, a drug that is a clinical trial drug for his type of cancer, but I believe it’s FDA approved for kidney cancer. I think there is a link to all the clinical trial drugs on a government website. I will send you the link. I am praying for you both. You can contact me via my facebook page, which is linked to my blogspot website.
    God bless you,

  6. KJ says:

    Prayers are with your family. Sent link to everyone I could and asked they do same. Hope she is home soon!

  7. Kim Laustrup says:

    Our prayers and thoughts are with you both. We have signed petition and will forward link to everyone we can! We will be following your updates and progress.

  8. Katie says:

    Posted on my facebook page. Prayers to you both.

  9. Amanda says:

    Prayers are with you guys ❤

  10. Kristine Jarvis says:

    Mikeala, you keep fighting…we are praying and cheering you on!!!

  11. rachel tuma says:

    Mikaela and Keith, stay positive, stay strong! Hoping the best for you! I’ve forwarded the petition on. Hugs from Peoria 🙂

  12. Crystal says:

    I signed your petition because I would have wanted the same had I been in your situation. I was diagnosed with leukemia a couple of years ago at age 26. Luckily chemo brought me into remission, but I understand your frustration.

  13. […] Keith and Mikaela Knapp. They were high school sweethearts who married in 2011. Just two years later, Mikaela was diagnosed […]

  14. Lisa Rainer says:

    Signed your petition and shared on facebook, much love and prayers for both of you!

  15. Sonia says:

    Signed your petition and wishing you both the very best. I’ll share your petition with others. God bless you both.

  16. Lisa Rainer says:

    i hope you guys are alright 😦 i am praying. and god bless you.

  17. Nadya Hristeva says:

    Dear Mikaela,
    You’ve always been an inspiration for me. My heart is breaking every time I read this and it’s so hard to believe this harsh reality. I signed the petition and truly hope you succeed in getting the necessary medication. I mostly freaked out when I found you were at UCSF since I am here studying pharmacy and living across the street. I wish there were more positive reasons to bring you so close. Stay strong and keep fighting!!!!

  18. Julian Peters says:

    Hello Keith,

    I have sent a private message to the Facebook account in hopes that you will read the message. I wish you both the best, and feel free to message me back on Facebook, or send me an e-mail @



  19. Lenetta says:

    Hi Keith and Mikaela,

    As I read your final email today, I was immediately moved to prayer. Although I don’t know you, my prayers are with you. I believe in a God (Yahweh), Who is faithful, and Who can completely heal any sickness or disease. My husband and I are praying for a healing miracle for you and for Mikaela, from our loving Heavenly Father. We are all His children, and He cares about each one of us. I also pray for your peace (shalom), provision, and comfort in the coming days.

    It’s hard to understand why a God of love allows sickness and disease, but we know that He has a plan and a purpose.

    He says; Jer 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Jer 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.

    Jer 29:13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

    Shalom and blessings,


    Num 6:24 The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you;

    Num 6:25 The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you;

    Num 6:26 The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).

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