When Kelly was diagnosed with acute lymphocyctic leukemia (ALL) in her early twenties, she knew Dana-Farber was where she needed to be for treatment.
Kelly McCue headed off to Brooklyn, New York at age 24 with a theater degree and showbiz aspirations. But her dreams were put on hold when she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Kelly was alone when she received her cancer diagnosis, but not for long; her family and friends rallied together to help Kelly meet her two-year treatment course head-on. Here, in her words, is how Kelly found the strength to fight.
Being diagnosed with cancer made me feel like my independence had been ripped away from me, but the adversity also brought me a gift: precious time to spend with my family. The day I was diagnosed was my mom’s birthday—January 31, 2015. When I told my parents, they rushed to Brooklyn to be by my side. My incredible roommates, friends, and extended family also reached out to support me. The outpouring of love was so touching. It almost made me forget what I was going through.
Among those that reached out, was a close from of mine from home that had also been diagnosed with leukemia. I had watched her courageously fight and beat her cancer while at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Through her experience, I knew Dana-Farber was where I needed to be. My care team at Dana-Farber has been exceptional. Dr. Daniel DeAngelo MD, PhD, and Susan Buchanan, PAC, MHP have made me feel safe, strong, and helped me to stay positive every step of the way.
When my doctor told me that I would not be able to practice dance for a year during treatment, my heart sank. I had gone to New York with the hopes of making it as a musical theater actress. Now, I had to put those dreams on hold.
Even though these setbacks have made this past year difficult, I had the support of my friends and family. My friends were helpful in keeping my spirits up. They sent me videos, cards, and made frequent visits to the hospital.
My mom and dad have been rocks throughout this process. There is no way I could ever face this without them. There are simply no words that could express the gratitude and love that I feel for them.
I hope to share some of the lessons that cancer has taught me. Supporting Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund is close to my heart. I want others to know it is important to keep raising money so that patients like me can thrive and feel supported.
To steal a line from her favorite musical, Gypsy, everything’s coming up roses for Kelly. Her cancer is now in remission. She has completed the rigorous first year of treatment and has begun a year of maintenance therapy. She hopes to eventually pick up where she left off in New York City.
Grateful for her care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Kelly shared her smile with the world as the 2017 face of Rally for the Jimmy Fund presented by Chowdaheadz. Rally for the Jimmy Fund participants form teams, raise money, and wear their Boston Red Sox gear to work or school on Opening Day at Fenway. It was a fitting partnership for someone whose family and friends rallied around her during her time of greatest need.
This post originally appeared on the Jimmy Fund Blog.