As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’re sharing the love. Get to know LIVESTRONG Leaders Jerry & Angie Kelly and learn how they faced cancer together while growing to treat every day as Valentine’s Day.
From now through Friday, enjoy 15% off flowers and gifts* and our partners at FTD will donate 15% of your purchase to The LIVESTRONG Foundation.
Please visit www.ftd.com/LIVESTRONG15 to order today.
We worked together for several years and were friends before we started dating.
Tell us about your journey through cancer together…
We had only been married for four months before my first diagnosis of testicular cancer. It was particularly stressful because both of my grandfathers and my father had died of cancer, so men had a bad track record with cancer in my family. I clearly remember Angie’s words after I told her, “Well, we’ll get through this together.” It was very difficult to tell my mom and daughters about the cancer, but we did that together as well. Six years later, when we thought cancer was in the rear-view mirror, melanoma appeared. I think our attitudes had changed from the first diagnosis to less fear and more ‘we can handle this.’ I must say, we were more aware of early detection after the first diagnosis. Angie found the melanoma on my back, where I likely wouldn’t have seen it for a long time—maybe too long.
What role did your love play in fighting and beating the disease?
We were so thankful that we were married so we could fight this together. We went to doctor appointments and treatments together. With both of us talking to the doctors, we never left the hospital thinking we had forgotten to ask any questions. We talked about treatment options and always felt comfortable that we had a plan. That doesn’t mean we didn’t both lay awake a few nights staring at the ceiling, but we stared together.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a couple facing cancer together?
Knowing you have someone by your side that’s going to be there throughout is a huge comfort. Talk about what you’re thinking and how you feel. Discuss everything—from questions you have for doctors, to how and when to tell family and friends. Sharing the burden really does lighten the load.
Are you sending your valentine flowers this year? Anything else planned?
If I told you I was giving Angie some yellow roses, it won’t be a surprise, will it?! Cancer definitely changed our perspective on things that are important. We try to celebrate every day. It’s as much fun to sit out on the deck with the dogs as it is to go out for a fancy meal.
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