Kelly’s Heroes is a New Jersey-based 501c3 that raises funds for pancreatic cancer awareness and research. Our inspiration is Steve Kelly, a husband, father, friend and proud journalist. Diagnosed at age 53 with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, he never stopped waging hope through two clinical trials. His own words, delivered at PurpleStride New Jersey, best describe his journey and legacy…
In Steve’s Words – Steve’s speech at PurpleStride New Jersey, November 2014:
Kelly’s Heroes is a member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, a global partnership of nonprofits from 30 countries committed to raising awareness and increasing survival. Pancreatic cancer is often called the “silent killer” because there’s no reliable screening test for the disease and its symptoms often aren’t apparent until the disease has spread. The statistics are sobering:
Pancreatic cancer is expected to surpass breast cancer this year as the third leading cause of cancer death. It is projected to become the second by 2020.
Pancreatic cancer is one of the world’s deadliest cancers with a five-year relative survival rate of just 9 percent.
In 2018, an estimated 44,330 people in the United States will die of pancreatic cancer, and 55,440 people will be diagnosed.
To fight this disease, we need everyone to know this disease. The symptoms of pancreatic cancer include abdominal or back pain, rapid unexplained weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of skin or whites of the eyes), abdominal bloating, indigestion, sudden onset diabetes and changes in stools. Know your body, be your own best advocate and see a physician if you experience these symptoms.
Infographic: Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms and Risks
Steve Kelly died 22 months after his diagnosis. In those 22 months, he white-water rafted and ziplined in Costa Rica; ran a 5K with his daughter; and donned his kilt and poured the Guinness at his annual St. Patrick’s Day bash. Writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Steve said, “I’m not afraid of dying, but the thought of not living frightens the hell out of me.” Kelly’s Heroes is committed to celebrating Steve’s life by gathering good people together, raising funds for cancer research and waging hope against this terrible disease.
Read more from Steve and Kerry Kelly:
“A devastating shock, a miraculous year,” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 15, 2014
“What my husband’s cancer couldn’t take,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 17, 2106
“The clinical trial didn’t cure his pancreatic cancer, but it offered something almost as precious,“ Philadelphia Inquirer, July 17, 2016