Three Chimneys presents Good News Friday: Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior
When Kathleen Kelly’s hair started falling out due to chemotherapy treatments, she wasn’t sure how her two young boys would handle it. She had always had long hair. Her sons came home one day from to school to find their mother with a shaved head. It turns out, Kelly had nothing to worry about.
“As soon as they came through the door, they were all excited,” said Kelly. “They pulled my hand, and they wanted to show me to our neighbors down the street. It was right before Halloween. They wanted to paint my head. And from that day forward, I kind of knew everything was going to be okay.”
Everything did turn out to be okay, but only after Kelly underwent a double mastectomy, 33 radiation treatments and seven surgeries in 18 months. She decided if she was fortunate enough to get through all of that, she would share her story and provide hope to others. She’s doing that and more this week as Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior.
For the third consecutive year, the Maryland Jockey Club, in partnership with the Maryland affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, named a breast cancer survivor Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior. The title comes from Candy Coburn’s popular song, “Pink Warrior.” Kelly, of Eldersburg, Md., received the honor this year and will serve as race ambassador, participating in many Preakness week events. Most importantly to her, many people will hear her story.
“While I was diagnosed with stage 3, it was just so uplifting to hear from people that were my stage or that were maybe a single parent, as I was,” Kelly said. “And that’s why I’m hoping people look at me and say, she’s doing great, and I can do it, too.”
Nearly six years after her diagnosis, Kelly is cancer-free. Saturday, she ran in the Preakness 5K, a fundraiser for Komen Maryland. She represented the Maryland Jockey Club at the post-position draw and the annual Alibi Breakfast. She will be a part of the trophy presentation following the Preakness.
But it is today, with Pimlico awash in pink for Black-Eyed Susan Day, that Ms. Preakness Pink Warrior will have her biggest impact. The day culminates with a breast cancer survivor parade, featuring 88 survivors. Seventy-five percent of the funds raised will go to the Komen Maryland Affiliate for community outreach programs in the state, and 25% will be used for life-saving breast cancer research. Kelly’s story – and her message – will be heard and felt by thousands of people.
“It’s just not about breast cancer or any cancer,” she said. “It’s anything that you might be dealing with your life, any sort of trial or tribulation. You just do what you have to do, and then one day you’re through it, and it doesn’t seem so bad when you look back on it.”
When Kelly was diagnosed, like many cancer patients, she wondered why it was happening to her. Now, she believes there was a deeper reason why she had to endure such a trial in her life.
“Instead of being asked – How has cancer changed me? – I want to be asked – How have I helped those with cancer? My goal is to be able to answer – by providing hope – hope that a cure and a better life are just around the corner.”
Saturday evening, Kelly might be supporting a different “cause” and a different color.
She likes the gray horse, Creative Cause, to win the Preakness.
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Thanks to the generosity of Three Chimneys Farm, the sponsor of Good News Friday, a donation of $100 will be made to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Maryland affiliate. Three Chimneys will be donating $100 each and every week we bring you a story of people or organizations making a positive difference in our world.