A "Peace" of Kate: "A True Friend, A Gem"

What can I say about Kate Shea?  She was a gem and a true friend to everyone that knew her.  And I mean true.  

Kate and I became friends at a young and formative age.  We met at "Harris Street"- at the beach, as we all did back then.  It was our social hub, (back before cell phones, and what not), our hangout day and night, and where Kate was lucky to call home.  

She had a house full of siblings and her loving and caring attitude towards them was immediately obvious.  Coming from a family with only one older sibling, I really appreciated that she had responsibilities beyond just your average teenager, and how she cared for her family.  

Her adventurous spirit and beauty, both inside and out, was magnetic and we became friends instantly.  She was always happy, generous, and fun.  

We shared a summer loving our long days and "nights out" together.  To know Kate was to love her and I am so grateful to have been part of her life.  

I have one particular memory that hold dear.  I will not share all the details but, suffice to say it ended with a sunrise.  I can still picture Kate walking towards me smiling, and the morning sun perfectly captured her silhouette like a halo around her.  It was the perfect ending to our hysterical night and It makes me smile every time I think of it.   

This is the first time I will be able to make the 5k run, having lived abroad all these years and only just this year being able to time a trip properly.  I truly cannot wait because I know that I will feel connected on an even deeper level to Kate and the special memories I have.  You will always have a special place in my heart Kate Shea.  

I miss you and I love you.

Missy Akersten McDermott

A "Peace" of Kate: "Never Let Cancer Define Who You Are"

Julie's Story

My husband of only a year and a half was diagnosed with colon cancer on 12/28/14, and our lives were changed forever. 

This is my story. My name is Julie Zier and I am the wife and caregiver to Ken Kiess, a colon cancer warrior.

Ken and I met on a blind date in 2009. I married Ken and his thick NY accent just over two years ago. We were looking forward to a long and wonderful life together.

We had a dark couple of weeks after Ken’s diagnosis. We started calling everyone who we knew who could help—I needed to be sure that Ken was getting the newest and best treatment.  Our contacts brought us to a great doctor at Weill Cornell at NY Presbyterian.  

Ken spent two weeks in MSK getting the HAI pump. This pump deliver 300 x the chemo directly to the liver. We were not prepared for the after effects of the surgery.  He had serious complications from the surgery and is still gaining his strength back.  

Ken will not let this cancer define him and he refuses to talk stages, he says he is in the stage of life.  He is a beacon of light in what is a very dark time. Thank you for letting us share our story. 

Ken’s story

As a 51 father of 4 and just recently married to my wonderful wife, Julie, I was looking forward to beginning our new life and our new journey.  I had started a new job and had just bought a new house.  Life was settling down and except for a couple of bumps in the road of having 4 teenagers, life was good and we were looking forward to a wonderful future.

When out of the blue, everything changed.  I was diagnosed with colon cancer with mets to liver on December 30, 2014.  Not the kind of news anybody wants to hear.  But it was what it was.  Since that fateful day, I have not looked back nor asked why me?  Life is never a constant and there are never any guarantees.   

I am in the fight literally for my life not only for me and family but for all that may come after me with this diagnosis. I immediately wanted to help anyone else and when people asked me “what can I do for you”, I said get yourself checked immediately, that is what you can do for me.

From this desire to help, my involvement with the Colon Cancer Alliance was started.  I immediately connected with the web site and was happy to get my entire Merrill Lynch office involved in the Wear Work to Blue Day in March.  And while I am not a Facebook member, I know my wife finds comfort communicating with others suffering along with us.   Then I immediately started raising awareness and funds for the Undy Run/Walk.  My wife came up with our name, The Smart Asses and the cute eye catching logo.  We wanted the word ass somewhere in our logo to draw attention to getting checked.  We used the smart ass logo on all of our correspondence and had team t-shirts made with the logo and the catch phrase, “don’t be a dumb ass, get yourself checked”.   

My family and friends have been so strong for me during this time and they drove miles that Saturday morning to attend the race and raised well over $75,000 for the cause.  Without their support, I don’t know where I would be in this fight.

The advice I would give anyone who has been diagnosed and wants to get involved it is quite simple, you are never alone and there are many great people who want to help.  Reach out to any and all who can be of help. Turn a bad thing into something good, never let cancer define who you are!

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A "Peace" of Kate: "A Life Taken Too Soon" by Gloria's Family

Gloria Chiarieri passed away thirty years ago from breast cancer. There are no photos here of her children's college graduation's, weddings, or meeting any of her four grandchildren, whom she would have loved to pieces. That is because cancer took her in the prime of her life, before she could enjoy any of those experiences. It is Team "Gloria's Gang's" hope that money can be raised in Gloria's memory, to help mothers and daughters stay together longer. AMEN!

A "Peace" of Kate: "Cherishing the Time" Written by the Van Looy Family

Rosemarie Van Looy was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in early September 2007. After initial cancer treatment, she received a blood stem cell transplant in early summer 2008. The results were just amazing. Two months later we enjoyed a bus trip to Bransen, Missouri. - During the next four years we experienced great ups and some downs, with additional treatments at our local cancer doctor. In early 2012 Rosemarie's health started to deteriorate and she succumbed to this horrendous decease on July 6, 2012.

My cousin Bill Fassbender was also diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He received his treatments in North Carolina. Eventually, he, too, had a blood stem cell transplant, which greatly improved his health and allowed him to create wonderful memories with his family, as well as play many more rounds of golf. But the cancer returned and Bill passed on about a year ago.

Rosemarie and Bill were the beneficiaries of the latest blood cancer treatments. The amazing reserarch results allowed both to enjoy years of enjoyment with their families, unheard of just ten years ago. - Come, continue the search for better blood cancer treatments and an eventual cure. You are playing such a very important role in this quest.

On behalf of Rosemarie and Bill, and their families, we thank you for your continued support.