ACS Relay for Life honorary co-chairs selected

From the American Cancer Society

Brittany Peterson

Brittany Peterson

Brittany Peterson, of North Branch, was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, and was one of the youngest people in Minnesota diagnosed with this cancer with no history of risk factors, such as a family history, and no environmental risks or habits, such as smoking. With the support of her husband and parents, Peterson went through six surgeries and several immunotherapies at the University of Minnesota. Since January 2013, she has dropped from being considered high risk to now being a low risk for the return of the cancer. She has to only go through one more precautionary therapy in the next few months

Peterson said she’s feeling great and that her cancer has brought her back to church and she finds her daily walk with God a strong factor in her positive journey with cancer. She is grateful for her family doctor, Jeff Cox, of Allina in North Branch, and the oncology specialists at the University of Minnesota who were knowledgeable and administered the immunotherapy treatments, which consisted of injecting tuberculosis bacteria into her bladder. It is this kind of medical care and research that is supported by funds from the Relay for Life, which has given her more birthdays and hope for the future. She hopes everyone can join in the fight.

Pat Kennedy

Pat Kennedy

Pat Kennedy

Pat Kennedy, of Lindstrom, is also a survivor of a very fast-growing, painful tumor, which started on the left side of his torso in 2008 and turned out to be non-Hogkins lymphoma cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a cancer that originates in the lymphatic system, the disease-fighting network spread throughout the body. In non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, tumors develop from lymphocytes — a type of white blood cell. After six months of chemotherapy, and no surgeries or radiation, Kennedy beat the odds with this cancer.

Kennedy’s determination, his wife, family, faith in his physicians and the knowledgeable care of the oncology nurses at Wyoming Fairview Lakes Clinic are what has helped him walk his journey.

One year ago, unfortunately, his wife was also diagnosed with a very aggressive form of small cell lung cancer and died three weeks later.

But Kennedy is a living example of someone who takes a lemon and turns it into lemonade. Now he volunteers every week in the oncology infusion clinic at Fairview Wyoming, helping others with cancer by talking with them, supporting them and just being there as they, too, walk the cancer journey. Kennedy encourages everyone to trust their doctors, have faith in them and to have belief in the work the American Cancer Society to finish this fight.

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