Survivor Story

A Decade of Difference…

If it had been a decade earlier, things might have been very different.

Kelly Werner was in the car with her son, age 3, when she got the call. Her worst fears were confirmed. It was cancer.

She had been expecting the call, perhaps even the results, but nothing can prepare a person for the moment reality hits. Stage 3 HER2 positive breast cancer. Two lymph nodes were involved and the doctors could not rule out the spread of cancer beyond the breast and lymph nodes, so they treated her as if it was stage four.

It was cancer – it was an aggressive cancer.

She was 37 at the time. A mother of two young children, she remembers crying in the car.  It is a moment that her young son still remembers.

Thankfully, they were too young to remember, much less fully comprehend, all that went on – the treatments, Kelly losing her hair, the days she had to rest half way up the stairs in their home before making it all the way to the second floor.

They knew “Mommy was sick” but they never knew how sick.

As is true of so many mothers, perhaps especially young mothers, her first thoughts were of her children – the impact on them, on their futures.

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Kelly crossed paths because of her involvement in Burn Boot Camp, a women’s fitness organization committed to empowering women to maximize quality of life through fitness and community.

This coming Saturday, Burn Boot Camp is hosting an event in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and women like Kelly who are fighting a bigger battle for quality of life.

Kelly joined the team at Burn Boot Camp to build muscle, combating the possible onset of osteoporosis, which is not a condition that concerns most women in the late thirties or early forties. As a side effect of the chemotherapy treatments, Kelly experienced an early menopause. Osteoporsis is often a threat to post-menopausal women.

We are all working toward a time when the long list of negative side effects of chemotherapy are eliminated by a total cure. Until then, we celebrate the fact that the list of negatives is shorter than it once was; shorter than it was a decade ago.

We celebrate the wins of cancer research, realizing that a decade ago, a diagnosis with an aggressive form of cancer may not have had a happy ending.

Kelly is clear on her situation; on the situation that faced her family. She is thankful. Thankful for the chance to raise her kids. Thankful for the days ahead. Thankful for cancer research.


For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the fight against ALL women’s cancers, visit

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