While Battling Cancer, Framingham Woman Raises $19,000 With Her Jimmy Fund Team
Kathy Kelly: "I go in every Wednesday morning, have my chemo, and am off to work for the rest of the day. No rest for the weary! I battle the nausea and fatigue by getting up and moving each and every day!"
Earlier this month, Karen Kelly, 39, of Framingham and a cancer patient in the midst of chemotherapy, walked the 26.2 mile Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk alongside her friends and family members on Team Invictus. The team raised more than $19,000.
Kelly has been battling cancer since 2008.
In Nov, 2008, Kelly discovered a lump in her breast during a routine self-examination. Doctors confirmed the lump as breast cancer. Kelly tested positive as a carrier of the BRAC-2 gene, which shows she has a greater chance to be diagnosed with breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
By April 2009, Kelly underwent four rounds of aggressive chemotherapy followed by a bilateral mastectomy and surgery to remove her ovaries.
Kelly’s cancer was stabilized until Feb. 2010 when she began experiencing problems with her right hip and knee. Initially, Kelly attributed the pain to her active lifestyle, but when she was hospitalized in June 2010 for colitis, a scan of her colon revealed her cancer had metastasized to her liver and bones, including a tumor that was found in her hip.
Consequently, Kelly immediately began chemotherapy treatment. In early fall of 2010, Kelly participated in a clinical trial treatment, which at the time, was successful.
In 2010, Kelly registered for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Walk with a friend to help support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber.
Two months before the event, Kelly broke her leg and was unable to walk.
On Walk day, she was going to cheer on her friends from the sidelines but with 5 miles to go she decided enough was enough. A broken leg wasn’t going to stop her from crossing the finish line.
With the help of her friends, Kelly was able to cross the finish line. At that moment, she made a commitment to herself to register for the 2011 event and complete the full 26.2 mile route.
“We all have our struggles, but cancer will not stop me from walking” said Kelly.
In June, Kelly found out her clinical trial was no longer effective and her cancer spread to her bones and spine. She is in the midst of receiving traditional chemotherapy.
Kelly stays active by getting up every day at 5:30 a.m. to workout at the MetroWest YMCA.
"I have been in active treatment without a break since 2010. Since then I am on my third drug. Every time one stops working, the next one is waiting in the wings for me," Kelly told Framingham Patch. "The most recent one requires weekly chemotherapy. I go in every Wednesday morning, have my chemo, and am off to work for the rest of the day. No rest for the weary! I battle the nausea and fatigue by getting up and moving each and every day!"
Kelly said she believes "in the power of positive thinking" and she has "vowed to myself, my family and my friends that I will never give up the fight."
Kelly is scheduled for a bone and CT scan today, Sept. 19.
"Fingers and toes are all crossed hoping that this latest drug has been successful," said Kelly. "If it has, we continue with the weekly treatments until it is not working anymore."
Kelly said she choose the name Invictus for her team from a poem written by William Ernest Henley. Invictus means “unconquered” in Latin.
The last stanza of the poem reads:
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
"The walk was fantastic, I think it is one of my favorite days of the year! I'm already thinking about next year," said Kelly.
Kelly was one of 9,000 walk participants to take part in the 2012 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Since its 1989 inception, the Walk has raised more than $80 million.