Kelly’s professional background is connected to mental health and helping others. In 2012 she faced a triple positive breast cancer diagnosis and she quickly came to realize how much this background of helping others face adversity would play into personally helping her navigate through the ups and downs of a diagnosis and face the challenges of life after treatment.

She and her husband participated in a couples retreat and this event helped them both connect with their feelings and emotions. She described it as a wonderful blend of emotional work with humor, art and physical movements incorporated throughout the retreat.  As Kelly shared, “As a therapist, awareness is key in helping patients find a path towards healing.”  As a participant dealing with her personal journey with cancer, Kelly gives credit to a writing group she found. The work she did with this group provided her with a productive and personally satisfying way to process and explore her personal journey. According to Kelly she experienced “So many feelings, so many thoughts, the what if’s in addition to facing the thought of one’s own mortality.”  She relayed that it felt like a big jump into what seemed to be a huge learning curve.”

Kelly highlighted a Mexican saying she had come to know that really resonated with her as she faced cancer.  The saying is “Do you see me slowing down? It’s because I’m in a hurry.”  She felt that these words mirrored her experience more than anything. “Everything changed and yet at the same time nothing changed with my cancer diagnosis.”  Kelly also talked about what so many of those who have faced or are facing a cancer diagnosis can relate to:  All the good intentions and advice that are delivered by family and friends. “People mean well and want to help but Kelly found that she received a lot of advice (some good / some bad). She tried, however, to focus on that this advice was all beautiful intentions by those who cared about her and her family.

In addition to her work as a therapist, Kelly has co-facilitated programs for Spanish speaking groups. She shared that she has come to realize that a common thread no matter what language a patient speaks, is the power of groups.  At a time when one is facing adversity it is important “to not be or to not feel alone.”

Kelly believes strongly in the power of groups. She encourages survivors and thrivers to seek out organizations that will help them make connections with people having experienced cancer. It is certainly not limited to what many may view as traditional “support groups.” “There are groups out there that focus on an activity first like yoga, dance, or dragon boating but are made up of cancer survivors and thrivers. These groups become a source of positivity and serve as a way to start a new chapter after a cancer diagnosis.” Our community is fortunate to have many resources to consider and she applauds the groups that Pink Lemonade Project has created to help those with breast cancer find an environment that will help them and lend emotional, spiritual or physical support.

As Kelly states “Pink Lemonade Project programs demonstrate that often small interactions can be very impactful. Finding a common vocabulary through a group that fits your personal profile can be a huge benefit, both as a patient and supporter.”


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