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Monday, October 27, 2008

an angel among us.

i was a junior in high school, and life was busy... i was junior class president. i was playing varsity tennis. i had a boyfriend, who had just swept me off my feet, & taken me to disneyland for the day. i had recently turned 16, gotten my drivers license & a car. my hair was finally growing out from an especially unattractive & short haircut. what can i say? life was nearly perfect. my biggest worries in life revolved around AP exams, term papers & deciding on the prom theme.

one evening that november, my parents called a family meeting. usually these meetings revolved around our then-flourishing tennis careers... determining tournament schedules, setting up practice matches, discussing "strategy". however, this family discussion was much more serious than my brothers, sister & i could ever have been prepared for. words like cancer & chemotherapy were involved. tears were shed, people were angry, and lots of questions were asked. over the next several weeks, months & (luckily) years, we had several more family meetings. & unfortunately, those words that had brought so much sadness to our lives that fateful day, had quickly become part our daily vocabulary.

after many, many treatments, several surgeries & five and half years later, my father passed away after a long & hard battle with melanoma cancer. for my mother, however, her battle has continued on. over the last several years, she has organized an annual golf tournament, which has raised over $600,000 to support melanoma research at the john wayne cancer institute. my mom often says "i've always felt like they (jwci) kept him alive for five extra years. when he was diagnosed, they gave him six months to live. kerry, our daughter, was only four years old, so five extra years wan a lifetime to her. this is my way of giving back."

last week, my mom was honored by the jwci's auxiliary. they bestowed upon her their most prestigious honor, the "angel award". congratulations mom! we've always known, but now the world knows as well... you definitely are an "angel among us."

33 comments:

mama jo said...

thanks dear...that was very sweet...

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Wow...your mom has raised a lot of money and awareness! Well done her!!

I lost my Dad 5 years ago...he was waiting for a lung transplant as a result of the damage done to his lungs from a bone marrow transplant. He was originally diagnosed with lymphoma in 1992. I was lucky as I remember him well, but for my sisters who are much younger than me their memories of him are so different...but at least they had those extra years and my own daughter got to know her grandfather.

Your mom is doing some great work there..you must be very proud.

momof3crazykids said...

What a wonderful thing she has done, and probably still is.
My mom was diagnosed with melenoma about 14/15 years ago. Luckily she had caught it early.
Horray for your mom and bringing awareness.

Melissa said...

Wow. That is awesome. I work at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Dermatology so that is right up my alley. We see it everyday.
Your mom is awesome! But I'm sure you already knew that!

Darilyn said...

Thankyou for sharing this. It sounds like she is certainly an angel. I'm glad she was honored like that. It always makes us feel good to know that others recognize in people we love what we've always known.

Tracy @ our Journey said...

What a great way to bring joy out of sorrow. What a beautiful and brave lady your mom must be.
Thanks for sharing her story.

Chanda said...

That is such a sweet story. Thanks for sharing. Your mom rocks!

xoxo, C said...

like mother, like daughter....

Blogging with Deb said...

Your mom is an angel to many people! I am one of them.
Thank heavens for angel friends......named Jo.
Deb

Aranne and Dan said...

That was a sweet story. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Your mom is such a great inspiration.

* TONYA * said...

Wow. Well done mom on raising so much money for such a worthy cause and one so dear to your heart and for being an 'angel'. You truly are.

Kathryn said...

Awesome tribute. Your pride and love is well placed.

Misty said...

oh my goodness.... what an amazing story. I'm so sad for your hard time and loss as a family but your mom sounds amazing...

Fifi Flowers said...

That's WONDERFUL!
I do volunteer work for What a Pair whose event benefits jwci... great organization.

Erika said...

beautiful. and kudos to your awesome mom too.

marta said...

congrats to mama jo. hip hooray.. truly your mom has quiet strength. she is a gem and we love her.

p.s. i LOVE this photograph. i remember seeing it on her bookshelf (which i also love) long ago and wanted and oh so hoped to someday be a young free hippie in love like that perfect pair. seriously i think about that photo all the time. it's PERFECT.

Shannon said...

WOW! Now I know why you are so amazing. You take after a VERY strong, amazing woman who has accomplished so much!

Steph said...

What great story thanks for sharing what a great mom you have.

Traci said...

What a very sweet and endearing post.
Sorry to hear of the loss of your father. Good you had 5 more years to make some great memories with him.
Way to go to your mom to and her hard work!

jen said...

oh, very touching. thanks for sharing.

Mikki said...

Congrats to your mom!! What an inspiration she is!

TravelinOma said...

Jo is an angel, and has been all her life. ( I can say that because I've actually known her all her life.) Your family has experienced so much that could fill you with despair and bitterness, yet both your parents have lived in such a positive way.

You kids are the reason they didn't give up, and why your mom has moved on with such generosity and courage. You're an incredible example of a strong family.

I'm sure there are many more angel awards awaiting her.

gab said...

So sweet, Kelly! I remember your mom and dad when they looked like that. I have loved and looked up to her my whole life. Your family is remarkable.

polly said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful lady..she is an example of generosity and staying positive always and having a great sense of humor! Also have always loved the picture!

Hollyween said...

Kelly, this post is close to my heart since my husband battled Melanoma just recently and had one year of chemotherapy. It spread to his lymphatic system and he had a radical dissection, but thank the Lord because it stopped there. People don't realize how scary Melanoma is. They think just skin cancer.

Your mother sounds wonderful.

Andrew, Jen, and Taedon Kent said...

Your mom is truly amazing! My mom still talks about that day & all that your mom does...she really does touch people & was meant to do work like that! God bless!

My Two Army Brats said...

Wow thats a great story! I'm sorry for your loss and greatful for your Mom's constant efforts to raise money to fight back against cancer all at the same time!

Letti said...

That was really cool. What a special person your mom is. I am sorry about your loss but it seems to me like other have benefited greatly from all of your Mom's hard work. She truly is an Angel.

Sarah said...

thank you for sharing. that was very sweet and a great inspirational story for me today!

Wendi said...

What an incredible story.
What an incredible mother.
Thanks for sharing Kelly.

Jon & Heather said...

oh how lovely. way to go to your mom. $600,000- wow. that is awesome. (side note- I too was jr class pres.)

Jon & Heather said...

oh how lovely. way to go to your mom. $600,000- wow. that is awesome. (side note- I too was jr class pres.)

vicki said...

Thank you for sharing your story, recognizing, loving, and honoring your mother, and being brave yourself. It is wonderful to know that there are still angels around.