by A.M. Kinross:
With all the news out there that stirs so many negative emotions, I hope this story stirs some positive and touching emotions to help balance out this crazy world. This week I had the chance to meet some extraordinary people and I knew right off that I needed to share this story. I was at the Disney Marathon cheering on a group of runners who were running for a cause.
A young woman who had a dream to some day put an end to childhood cancer had an amazing turnout of supporters who wanted the same thing.
Kellsie Marchbanks of Illinois first battled Osteosarcoma, (a form of cancer that starts in the bones) at age 15, and then once again when she was 20 years old. By then she was a happily engaged nursing student with a beautiful life ahead of her.
The second time the cancer turned up in her lung and the treatment was to remove the cancerous section of the lung. Beating cancer for a second time, she continued the pursuit of her nursing dreams and her upcoming Disney wedding that was scheduled for the following year, but cancer returned for a third time only several months later, and in that moment her focus expanded on all the things that she wanted to do to help other children like herself going through this journey.
She spent time talking to her Oncologist about giving money to him for his research, and she reflected on what she was given by other organizations, and she wanted to figure out how she could give back. Sadly there would be no wedding, and there would be no college graduation from her nursing school, but those dreams continued to give her strength throughout her last battle.
Kellsie’s mother, Gail Marchbanks said, “In her last week here on earth is when she talked to me about starting a foundation to help Children with Cancer. I truly believe that those words were put into place so that I would have something to focus on when she was gone. She knew I would do anything for her. After a couple of years passed is when we moved our focus on to kids that have relapsed from their cancer, seeing that there was a great need for that.”
Kellsie lost her battle to cancer on June 8, 2011, but a promise was made and kept by a remarkable woman who continues to raise money for Children who are also battling this disease, so they can have a wish come true, and so that research for childhood cancers would be funded, as well as nursing scholarships in honor of Kellsie.
Today The Kellsie’s Hope Foundation has helped to raise over $391,000.00 for Childhood Cancer Research, and over the past six years Kellsie’s Hope have funded over fifty children and their families to have a wish of a lifetime granted. Where so many would struggle to find a way to get up and move forward from such a tragedy, Kellsie’s family and friends have continued to instead help others and lift them up, and give hope. They raise money through several ways: Marathons, Cook offs, Tree of Hope (auctioning beautiful fully decorated Christmas Trees), and Luncheons. Their fundraising focus includes: Sock it to Cancer, States of Hope, and the Disney Runs which are three fundraisers that are nationwide.
Sometimes it’s easy to get down about yourself and think that you can’t make a difference in what’s going on in your life or in the world, and then someone like Kellsie and her family come along to show you just how much one person can change so much for so many others. Their motto is “There’s No Place Like Hope” and they would certainly know. Please check out their website, http://kellsieshopefoundation.com and like them on Facebook. Help make a difference and support Childhood Cancer Awareness, and if you know a family who could use some hope, be sure to tell them about Kellsie’s.