Kerry

My Story is about Steve Kelly

This event took place from 01 Jun 2013 to 15 Apr 2015

The Discovery

Stomach pain that spread to the back

This is My Story

As an avid runner, “time” to Steve Kelly usually centered on achieving a personal best. But pancreatic cancer was a harsh awakening that time is something much more precious.
Steve was preparing for the annual Broad Street Run, a 10-miler through the streets of Philadelphia, when he first began experiencing stomach pain. A journalist at the Philadelphia Inquirer, he chalked it up to stress and took antacid tablets to ease the discomfort. But when the pain migrated to his back, he saw his physician. A series of tests, first an ultrasound, then an MRI, a CT scan and finally a biopsy, confirmed the diagnosis: stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver. Suddenly, “time” took on a whole new meaning.
Steve was just 53, fit and didn’t have any of the traditional risk factors for pancreatic cancer. He sought aggressive treatment, participating in two clinical trials – first a new chemotherapy combo and then an immunotherapy treatment designed to activate the body’s own immune system to fight the growing cancer cells. The treatments were difficult and often-times debilitating with side effects. But they also yielded some promising results. Steve was able to enjoy what his wife Kerry calls “a six-month gift to our family” in which his tumor growth stalled and he was pain-free. In his final year, Steve white-water rafted and ziplined with his family in Costa Rica, ran a 5K with his daughter and delivered an emotional survivor speech at New Jersey’s PurpleStride event.
Steve Kelly died in April 2015, 22 months after his diagnosis. He has inspired family and friends to create Kelly’s Heroes, a nonprofit that established the Steve Kelly Fund for Pancreatic Research at Johns Hopkins. And Steve – a husband, father and clinical trial hero – continues to give future pancreatic cancer patients the precious gift of hope – and time.