My running story begins 6 months ago with my friend Kerry and a goal of running a half marathon and fundraising in her memory for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Below is Kerry’s story that was on my fundraising page:
I met Kerry Kelemen almost exactly one year from the day that I will be running the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
Kerry was selected to participate in a Rangers fan video shoot that we were doing last October. The day after the shoot she sent me an e-mail that said, “I wanted to thank you again for Saturday. I had a blast. It was my last day of freedom before being admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to receive a stem cell transplant.”
On Kerry’s 24th birthday she found out that she had Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, her blood type was B+ and she decided that would be her motto throughout this fight – BE POSITIVE. Other than the day I met her at the video shoot Kerry was in the hospital for just about the entire time that I knew her. We began to e-mail bad and forth regularly – Kerry told me her story about finding out she had Leukemia and being in the hospital and we talked about hockey and the Rangers (Kerry was a big hockey fan).
Her family kept a Facebook page called Dropkick Cancer for Kerry Kelemen updating her 5,000+ followers on her status.
The entire hockey season went by and Kerry watched the games from her isolation room in the hospital with her then boyfriend/ now husband Damian. A couple of days before our last game of the season Kerry e-mailed me saying they were out of treatment options and they were letting her out of the hospital – she hoped that the Rangers would make the playoffs so she would maybe be able to make it to one last game.
With the help of my friends and co-workers we got Kerry and Damian tickets to the last game of the season and made sure she had a memorable experience – they got a “backstage” tour of The Garden, watched a period of the game with Adam Graves, and at the end of the night Kerry participated in the Blueshirts Off Our Back Ceremony and went out on the ice to receive Ryan Callahan’s jersey.
Kerry passed away peacefully in her sleep on the morning of July 10th, 2011 after a year and a half battle. With Damian and Kerry’s family’s permission I am honored to participate in this half marathon on Sunday, October 1st and fundraise in her memory.
Thank you for your support and don’t forget to B+!
Stay tuned to hear how the race and fundraising turned out!