Lives change forever when you or someone you love are told "you have Stage 4 lung cancer." Despite 15 years of pro-baseball and living a healthy lifestyle (having quit smoking for 30 years), in Aug. 2018 Kelly Paris found out that the "pulled shoulder muscle" he'd been treating for months was actually stage 4 lung cancer. The physical, mental and emotional battle begins, but sometimes even the strongest and bravest cancer warriors can't beat such an insidious disease.
Kelly's 9.5 month lung cancer battle included 11 ER visits, 4 hospitalizations ranging from 5 - 9 days, 3 thoracentesis, pleurectomy (surgically removing the lining of Kelly's lung), 13 rounds of dual chemo’s plus immunotherapy, a code blue anaphylactic reaction to round 6 chemo requiring chest compressions/a room full of health professionals to regain a pulse, EMS services after the next chemo due to critically low blood pressure/becoming septic, ongoing 101-103 degree “cancer fever”/chills/night sweats, severe mouth sores/inability to eat most foods, undergoing countless biopsies, scans, and blood transfusions/lab draws.
And yet, to have seen Kelly - you would never have had any idea exactly what all he was going through. Kelly continued to give hitting lessons up until a month before he passed away, took long walks on the beach, went to travel and high school baseball games, grilled out, took dogs for walks at the greenway, and got married :) In Feb. 2019, when we were told that the cancer had spread to his liver, neck, spine, hip and sternum, he told me, “We’re not done. We’re not giving up. We’re not giving in. They can tell me it’s spread to 95% of my body, but you know what that means? I have 5% of my body to fight with.” #KellyStrong says it all.
On Sept. 18, 2021, I will be participating in the Charlotte LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk & Celebration at Clanton Park benefiting the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI) of North Carolina. Since 2008, LCI of NC has provided more than $1.6 million dollars towards lung cancer research awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina. I am so honored to be a part of the amazing LCI 5k Committee and know that every penny dontated takes us one step closer to winning the fight against a non-discriminating and formidable lung cancer opponent:
ANYONE CAN GET LUNG CANCER:
• One in 16 people in the US will be diagnosed with lung cancer in their lifetime
• More than 235,760 people in the US will be diagnosed with Lung Cancer this year, with a new diagnosis every 3 minutes
• 60% to 65% of all new Lung Cancer diagnoses are among people who have never smoked or are former smokers
WE NEED TO GET BETTER AT TREATING LUNG CANCER
• Lung cancer is the leading cause of all cancer deaths - 22% of all cancer deaths are from lung cancer
• Every 4 minutes in the US someone dies from lung cancer - an estimated 131,880 people will die from lung cancer this year
• More lives are lost to lung cancer than to colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers combined
• Only 21% of all people diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or more
• Only 6% of federal government dollars spent on cancer research are spent on lung cancer research
If you can't join me on September 18, 2021, at Clanton Park you can still make a difference by donating online. Be sure to check to see if your Employer will match your donation - LCI is a 501c3 organization that many companies are already set up to match your donation!
All donations make a difference - thank you so much for supporting me, my efforts, and the Charlotte LUNGe Forward Run, Walk & Celebration! If you have any questions about the Lung Cancer Initiative, please do not hesitate to call me or go to www.LungCancerInitiativeNC.org for more information.