Strike Out Lung Cancer: #KellyStrong

Lives change forever when you or someone you love is told "you have Stage IV lung cancer." Despite 15 years of playing pro-baseball and living a healthy lifestyle (having quit smoking for 30 years), in August of 2018, Kelly Paris found out that the "pulled shoulder muscle" he'd been treating for months was Stage IV lung cancer. 

After that, the physical, mental, and emotional battle began, but sometimes even the strongest and bravest cancer warriors can't beat such an insidious disease. Kelly's nine and a half month lung cancer battle included 11 ER visits, four hospitalizations ranging from five to nine days, three 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 six 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.

Yet, to have seen Kelly, you would never have had any idea exactly what he was going through. Kelly continued to give hitting lessons up until a month before he passed away. He took long walks on the beach, traveled and went to high school baseball games, grilled out, took the dogs for walks at the greenway, and we got married in February 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 percent of my body, but you know what that means? I have 5 percent of my body to fight with.” #KellyStrong says it all. 

On September 18, 2021, I will be participating in the online Charlotte LUNGe Forward 5K Run, Walk & Celebration benefiting the Lung Cancer Initiative (LCI). Since 2008, LCI has provided more than 2.6 million dollars towards lung cancer research, access to care programs, and education programs across North Carolina and beyond. I am so honored to be a part of the amazing Charlotte LUNGe Forward Committee. I know that every penny donated takes us one step closer to winning the fight against a non-discriminating and formidable opponent: lung cancer. Please consider supporting this cause by Joining or Donating to my Fundraising Team.

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