Kelly Brown, of Killeen, eased herself out of her husband’s car and made her way slowly to the door. Although her body has been ravaged by cancer many times, she has not lost count. She is truly a survivor.
Brown is extremely thin. In her 40s, she wears the same size clothes as her 12-year-old daughter, who is only 10 pounds lighter. Brow’s face is hollow, but her eyes sparkle. The three-time breast cancer survivor considers herself one of the lucky ones.
“I got breast cancer the first time in 1997; then again in 2004. In 2007, the tumors came back again,” she said.
Before 1997, Brown was diagnosed with and survived both cervical and uterine cancers, which caused hemorrhaging and resulted in a full hysterectomy. Brown’s mother died of breast cancer.
“I definitely have to exercise my faith. These have been life or death surgeries where I could’ve died. But I made it,” Brown said, smiling. “A lot of people are not here anymore to share their stories. I am blessed. Despite the obstacles and challenges, I made it through.”
Surgeries that saved Brown’s life and the lives of literally millions of people have been funded by the American Cancer Society. The organization’s largest global annual fundraiser, Relay for Life, steps off this weekend in Copperas Cove followed by events throughout Central Texas. The money funds research grants including the grant in Temple awarded to Dr. Sharon DeMorrow through Texas A&M University, Department of Internal Medicine, who is housed at Scott & White. The four-year $684,000 grant is used to find ways to regulate cancerous cell growth.
“Half of our organization’s annual income comes from Relay for Life to make these grants possible,” said Amanda Charbonneau of the American Cancer Society. “Our purpose is to remember our loved ones we’ve lost and celebrate our survivors.”
Relay for Life raised $119 million of the $438 million raised by the American Cancer Society last year.
Relay for Life in Copperas Cove is from noon to midnight Saturday at the Copperas Cove Civic Center, 1206 W. Avenue B. Fifteen teams have signed up for the 12-hour event with the goal of raising $42,000.
Anyone interested in participating in a Relay for Life event can register online or donate to a participant at www.cancer.org.