Mile #102 Kelly
September 9, 1981. 14 years old. I went in for a tonsillectomy and came out with metastatic rhabdomyosarcoma of the nasopharynx. One week of every test imaginable, then a very aggressive treatment plan - daily radiation & weekly chemo, concurrently, 'til mid-December. It made me so sick and weak that it very nearly killed me, but that's when I learned how tough I really was and I refused to give up. Clear scans in January were followed by two years of maintenance chemo.
The good news is I'm a childhood cancer survivor, the bad news is I'm a childhood cancer survivor. The list of treatment-related health issues is very long and it's not been an easy life. But I'm very grateful to still be here.
For many years I felt very alone on this journey of survivorship. Then in 2011 I read about a CureSearch Walk in Charlotte. First, participant; the next year, Planning Committee; then more events & organizations, connections to other survivors through social media. My life changed. Today I feel very much a part of a large family of gold ribbon warriors.
I keep a donation jar next to my cash register at work; I am "Fuzzy - On a Mission" (my longtime nickname Fuzzy started by my dad during my chemo days). My mission is to raise funds so that every child diagnosed with cancer will be a longterm survivor.