Wednesday, April 26, 2017


I was fortunate enough to be able to return to the Irish Eyes are Smiling Gala for the Kelly Care's Foundation on Monday April 24th. It is such an awe inspiring, soul repairing, celebration of gratitude and people who are #GameChangers that I was excited to return.

The Kelly Care's Foundation with it's great tagline of "A Playbook for Hope", is a great foundation that funds research that supports Health, Education and Community projects. The foundation came to be after Paqui Kelly (wife of Notre Dame's football coach Brian Kelly) defeated breast cancer twice. The Gala is a celebration of things the foundation has accomplished throughout the year and highlights individuals who make great contributions to the areas of Health, Education and Community.

The folks at Kelly Care's were aware of how inspired I was by Paqui Kelly last year and asked that I participate in the video that proceeded her introduction. I was honored to be able to participate and did my best not to be tongue tied.

Here I am up on the screen at the Gala, trying not to cringe at the sound of my own voice. Part of this video clip was for me to fan girl about Paqui Kelly and how inspiring it is that she took her gratitude about her support and level of treatment she received through her cancer battle and started a world class foundation. The other piece was to help promote their initiative about how everyone can be a #GameChanger. This social media campaign appeals to me because I believe that everyone does have the potential to be #GameChanger and that through work on this little blog, I am one. 

This year's gala paid tribute to the life of Steve McDonald, an NYPD officer who was shot and paralyzed by a 15 year old in central park in 1986. Steve spent his life being a champion of forgiveness and listening to his son and others talk about him, you knew he was an amazing man. 

The gala also honored Pat Quinn of Quinn for the Win, one of the tri-captains in the battle against ALS. He was introduced by the Pete Frate's (another Tri-Captain and well known to those in the Boston area) parents. As a breast cancer survivor, it is amazing to me to think about that prior to the 2014 ALS ice bucket challenge, ALS research had not been properly funded and new strides in treatment had not really been made since Lou Gehrig had the disease. Pat Quinn lives the mantra of Fight Like a Champion. He and Paqui both talked about being part of team's they never chose, but taking an athlete's approach and being an active participant to their new teams. Very relatable. 

The final honoree of the night was Hall of Fame football quarterback Jim Kelly. 
Jim Kelly in his Hall of Fame jacket with Irish Eyes are Smiling Gala Chairman Brian C
Jim Kelly gave an impassioned speech about being resilient and keeping a positive attitude. Jim Kelly also had a quote that will stay with me
Make a difference today, for someone fighting for their tomorrow. 

Whoa. I may have to print that out and hang it up. Talk about #GameChanger.

And then the band Chicago played. Yes, Saturday in the Park was played. Amazing.

I am grateful for the opportunity to attend and be inspired by those the Kelly Care's Foundation honored. I was also grateful for a comfortable dress and not wearing a bra (fancy back to my dress) out in public for the first time post lumpectomy. This was personal win for me and my self confidence.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

And the un-blinding reveals....

As previously mentioned the PRESENT trial (Prevention of Recurrence for Early Stage, Node Positive Breast Cancer with Low to Intermediate HER2 Expression with NeuVax Treatment) phase 3 of the study was ended because of futility.

As my oncologist and the research RN let me know that when the results were unblinded they would send me a letter letting me know what group I was assigned to.

Drum roll please........

I received the placebo.

I'm not going to lie I was a bit stunned and oddly disappointed. I mean I got stuck in the thigh a fair amount and I even fainted that one time.

And then my brother had the worlds greatest response
"On the plus side it means your body is keeping you cancer free".

Yes, yes it does. Way to find the upside!

Now to hunt for other programs to enroll in.