In Steve’s Words – Steve’s speech at PurpleStride New Jersey, November 2014:
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About Kelly’s Heroes
Kelly’s Heroes is a New Jersey-based 501c(3) inspired by Steve Kelly, a terrific husband, proud dad, big-time sports fan and a talented editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Steve was 53 when he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, a disease that kills 73 percent of its victims within the first year. Steve fought the battle through two clinical trials, volunteering to be part of the medical research that he truly believed would provide a breakthrough in treating this horrible disease. “Why not me?” he used to say as he endured his six-hour weekly chemo treatments.
Since its inception in August 2015, Kelly’s Heroes has raised close to $45,000 for pancreatic cancer clinical trials and research, raised more than $6,000 at PurpleStride events for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and provided $2,000 in scholarships to local students pursuing careers in healthcare. Kelly’s Heroes is a member of the World Pancreatic Cancer Coalition, a global partnership of nonprofits from more than 25 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 elusive 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 2014, an estimated 46,420 people will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the United States, and approximately 39,590 will die from the disease.
Steve 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 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.
Kelly’s Heroes in the News:
“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
“Bordentown Twp. teen who survived car accident receives scholarship to study nursing,” Burlington County Times, June 20, 2017
The Kelly Family Continues Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer, Neighbors of East Windsor, November 2017