At the top of the refrigerator above all our family pictures, memos, and graded homework papers is a 3x5 magnet with large white Bolden letters projecting from a black background. It simply reads… “Whoever said that winning isn’t everything never had to fight cancer.” This is a quotation my wife Kathy has adopted. Acknowledging the power of this message is a daily motivation for the entire Earley family.
Our cancer journey started almost five years ago in a somewhat ironic twist. My wife Kathy, while training for a nationally recognized breast cancer Triathlon fundraiser with her eldest daughter, was diagnosed with stage IIIA melanoma resulting from a routine physical exam. Kathy endured several proactive surgeries, weeks of physical therapy, a month of interferon injections and a litany of doctor appointments. After many long months of fight and determination, her dermatologist told us that the interferon was attacking and shrinking the Basal cell carcinoma.
Clinically Kathy is considered a “cancer survivor” and recently celebrated her fourth "Interferon Free" anniversary.
While AWARENESS is the signature message for TEAM EARLEY, EDUCATION is a huge component of The Melanoma Foundation of New England's mission, and is ultimately key to the successful mitigation of skin cancer at early stages. Subsequent to Kathy’s initial diagnosis, and through her diligence in scheduling dermatology appointments she was able to detect and treat two additional melanoma sites.
Five years later our journey has taken us back to the beginning. Kathy has returned to training with her family for the next marathon event. We laugh at ourselves when we state – “we are a fundraising team with a running problem”. So many aspects of our lives are taken for granted, being the spouse of a cancer survivor and facing it’s every-day challenges can really put things into perspective for you; what you value, how you prioritize, and above all the clarity to appreciate loved ones and friendships.
||As TEAM EARLEY treks into it’s sixth year of fundraising for melanoma cancer awareness, education, and prevention, we happily report that collectively, to date, we have raised over $50,000 towards Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Melanoma Foundation New England!