More than 125 people partied for a purpose March 19 at Kelly’s Heroes’ first St. Patrick’s Party at the American Legion in East Windsor, N.J.
The night paid homage to Steve Kelly’s love of two March traditions – St. Patrick’s Day and March Madness. With a DJ, Irish dancers, a silent auction and NCAA basketball playing on the wide screen, the event raised money for pancreatic cancer research and scholarships for two graduating seniors from Hightstown High School and Notre Dame High School who intend to pursue a healthcare career.
“Steve always appreciated his oncology nurses so much, and I think he would approve of helping an aspiring nurse or doctor or therapist get their start,” said Kerry McKean Kelly, wife of Steve Kelly, whose cancer experience inspired the creation of the 501(c)(3).
Steve, diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer in June 2013, participated in two clinical trials and was committed to cancer research. He died in April 2015, inspiring the organization that now celebrates his life by raising funds – and awareness – for pancreatic cancer research.
“Pancreatic cancer will surpass breast cancer this year as the third leading cause of cancer death,” said Kerry Kelly. “About 75 percent will die within a year of their diagnosis. Steve lived for 22 months with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and that was considered a success. Well if that’s success, then we need to redefine success against this disease.”
Kelly’s Heroes was joined by N.J. Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo, who recalled his friendship with Steve and his memories of sitting alongside him at the soccer fields, watching their daughters compete. He thanked the crowd for their support for cancer research.
Entertainment was provided by dancers from the Denogla-Ardmore School of Irish Dance, performing their slip jigs and treble reels and winning rave reviews from the crowd. The event also featured a silent auction, including a pair of tickets to Hamilton, the hottest show on Broadway. After some fierce bidding, the winner was Kelly’s Heroes Board member Bill Habib, with a $700 winning bid.