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Come Support Jen and LLS!

Posted on: July 6, 2015
Tags: FUNdraising Rydes
Come Support Jen and LLS!

Meet Jen Kelly!

My Story

I was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) on July 5, 2005, at the age of 26. I started treatment in October, and after 6 months of chemotherapy was deemed in remission, but not cured, and I’m still watched by my oncologist and seen in clinic every 3-4 months. I celebrated NINE years of remission in May, but I'm not cured and my fight with cancer is never far from my mind. Now that I'm a mother and wife, my concern has shifted from simply "what will my treatments look like when / if my cancer returns and will I be able to beat it again?" to "will I be able to fight this horrible disease again while also caring for my family?"

LLS literally saved my life and gives me hope for the future

The chemotherapy regime used in my initial treatment was one of the first my doctor had administered as the protocol had been published just months prior, and LLS had funded the research! Most patients diagnosed with CLL are men in their 60s and although they know that CLL always returns, until last year, there was no standard relapse treatment protocol. In February 2014 the FDA approved the drug Ibrutinib for use in CLL patients who have previously been treated. The research was funded by LLS and was completed by Dr. John Byrd, right up the street at OSU! This is HUGE, and proof positive that research leads to results!

Why I'm running!

With "free time" at a premium, you may wonder why I've decided to train for a half marathon. I'm running and fundraising because I CAN. There were SO MANY days when I was waging my war against cancer that I had to say "I can't." Because the drugs made my body weak, because I was too sick, because I needed to rest and recover. But not anymore, now that I CAN, I'm running for life! Someone before me did the same thing and the money they raised funded the research that helped save my life; now it's my turn!  

How I’ve shown cancer who’s the boss

This isn’t my first half marathon and it’s not the first time I’ve asked you to donate on my behalf to LLS. This Queen Bee half marathon will be my 7th endurance event and 6th half marathon (you know I can’t let you forget that I started this crazy journey with the Flying Pig full marathon in 2008 through TNT). I’ve fundraised for LLS in a variety of ways since my diagnosis and have raised over $34,000 thanks to the generosity of my friends and family. I’ve also been involved with LLS as a volunteer and honored hero and have shared my story and message of hope at many meetings and events; including the 2014 Man & Woman of the Year campaign where over $700,000 was raised for LLS (see the video here: http://pages.teamintraining.org/soh/quebee15/jkelly). Outside of fundraising, I’m doing my part to stay healthy so that if and when my cancer returns, I’m ready to FIGHT. As the Mom to two young girls it’s important to me that I show them that with perseverance, hard work, and a little sweat (ok, a lot of sweat), many small strides can make a huge impact!

Sign up (THIS Saturday, July 11, 10:30a) to cycle, sweat, strengthen and SUPPORT this Loveland mother, Power Ryder, and LLS advocate!