WELLESLEY, Mass. — Wellesley resident Tim Kelly has an added motivation to cross the finish line at the 127th Boston Marathon on Monday.
“Sometimes I’m trying to just get past April 17,” Kelly joked. “I don’t look like I have all that I’ve got going on.”
In addition to training to run 26.2 miles, raising thousands of dollars, and working a fulltime job while balancing a full family life, Kelley is also battling cancer.
“It’s a disease that is incurable,” Kelly said. “It’s treatable, and it’s slow-growing.”
Kelly was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma last year. Doctors detected the cancer during a scan for an unrelated, pre-scheduled heart surgery.
Kelly began treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute last July.
Months later, he had what some might call a crazy idea.
“I thought it would be a great chance to really live what Dana-Farber says to defy cancer as a way to not only raise money for Dana-Farber but also really beat against it,” Kelly said. “And to have it not be defining me, but that I live with cancer.”
Kelly will be one of 500 runners supporting Dana Farber on Marathon Monday. His wife Shannon had her doubts in the beginning but has come around to the idea.
“The doctor really felt that having a goal when you’re in the midst of cancer treatment is really important and advantageous,” Shannon Kelly said. “The doctor felt he’d have better results, and better results lead to better remission, so he started training!”
Kelly has raised over $30,000 for Dana Farber. All of that money will support cancer research. “What he’s done with it is made it his way to give back, which puts it back in your own control,” Shannon Kelly said. “It puts it back into doing good with something that is really hard.”
Last month, Kelly learned he was in remission. This good news is further fueling his drive to complete the marathon and to help contribute to the research that has already gotten him this far in his battle against cancer.
“What I get inspired by is the treatments that I benefit now came from years and years of research and work from other people,” Kelly said. “I’m hopeful that someday there will be a cure for my cancer, but I hope there’s cures for everybody’s cancer.”
“The way his doctors and his nurses have reacted to him running and it’s not like ‘good on you’, it’s ‘thank you’, because it impacts what they are able to do for their patients,” Shannon Kelly said. “It’s meaningful to see that cycle.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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