Girl, 6, passes after battling brain tumor

Jennifer Kranz

Jennifer Lynn Kranz, or “JLK” as she is known to family and friends, took the world by storm with her princess dresses, big brown eyes, beautiful smile and dancing – but she was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma – a rare type of cancer that caused an inoperable tumor to grow in her brain stem.
JLK, a Gilroy resident, passed away at her parents’ home Wednesday. She was diagnosed Oct. 28 on her sixth birthday and entered hospice care Jan 31.
JLK is survived by her parents, Libby and Tony Kranz, who adopted her at birth. Libby and Tony also have three younger children: Jonathan, Nicholas and Charlotte. The family moved to Gilroy four years ago.
Since her diagnosis, Gilroyans have rallied behind them, making JLK Grand Marshall of the city’s December holiday parade, supporting the family with donations and providing them with a real sense of community.
“Today 7 children will die from cancer. My daughter is one of them,” wrote her mother Libby Kranz in a heartfelt blog entry published Wednesday morning.
Hundreds of people responded to Libby’s post, with 344 responses as of Wednesday afternoon.
“Jennifer will never be forgotten. In six, too short, years, she touched more people than most do in decades,” wrote one commenter named Ryn, capturing a sentiment reflected by many other blog followers including family members, strangers and friends.
There is presently no cure for DIPG; just ways to buy more time with radiation and the hope that the treatments will shrink the tumor – or at least keep it from growing – long enough for a remedy to be discovered.
The cure didn’t come fast enough for JLK, but plans for a foundation called “Thread” are in the works. The Kranzs hope to launch an organization that will encourage the government to fund pediatric brain cancer research, since only 4 percent of government funds go toward research for cures to pediatric cancers and even less funds go towards fighting childhood brain cancers, Libby explained.
“Brain tumors in general are so complicated but pediatric ones even more so,” said Libby in a December interview with the Dispatch. “If you can solve the most complicated, everything else will crumble underneath it.”
JLK “gifted me her first and her last breath…and so many beautiful ones in between,” Libby wrote.
The family is raising money for a funeral. To make a donation to the Kranz family, visit: To read Libby’s blog, visit: