LEOMINSTER — To honor mothers on our special day, I had the pleasure of meeting one special lady who has taken it upon herself to not only be a caring and supportive mom to her daughter, who is sick, but also to help raise money for cancer research in a creative way.
Carol Kennedy and her daughter, Kelly Sidorick, both of Fitchburg, are working together to make jewelry that they will sell to help in the fight against cancer.
It’s a fight that’s very personal to Kennedy.
Nearly two years ago, Sidorick was diagnosed with a rare cervical cancer at age 32.
“Cancer is that awful word we all fear to hear when we go to the doctor for a physical examination,” Kennedy said. “So I was completely devastated when I heard my daughter’s doctor said she had cancer.
“I could not believe this was happening to my child, my daughter. I asked God why he didn’t give this cancer to me instead of Kelly.”
But as we all know, there are no answers for these questions.
Sidorick was told she had cervical adenocarcinoma on Aug. 27, 2014 — her 32nd birthday.
“I was shocked, numb and couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” she said. “This is real, I have cancer. Just saying it out loud was difficult.”
Since then, she has had multiple radiation and chemotherapy treatments, which come with many severe side effects.
“On Dec. 21, 2015, I was then diagnosed with clear cell ovarian carcinoma, two extremely rare cancers, and which I am currently undergoing chemotherapy,” Sidorick said.
“Earlier this year, I was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, which puts me at a much higher risk for developing more cancers,” she said. “The only way I know to stay strong and get through this is to live for each day. Also, I have a wonderful family who lift my spirits when I’m down.”
The jewelry fundraising project is helping Sidorick and her mom get through this hard time.
“Kelly and I have always done crafts together, and making jewelry was one of our favorite hobbies,” Kennedy said. “So we thought it would be fun.”
They already had a large collection of glass beads and had fun shopping for more.
They have been making jewelry to raise money for the Relay For Life event to be held June 10-11 at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner.
This year the American Cancer Society will be celebrating its 23rd Relay For Life where communities across the world come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too many lives.
Also this year, Always On Call Health Services, where Kennedy works, will celebrate its 17th year participating in the event.
“We will be walking the survivor walk,” she said.
“I always walked every year for others and cried watching all the people affected by this disease,” Sidorick said. “Last year I walked for the first time as a survivor. It was a different feeling. All the years I walked I never thought I would be on the inside of that track looking out.”
Anyone willing to donate to their team can go to the Relay for Life of Greater Gardner website at www.acsevents.org. and donate under their team name.
Relay For Life teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around the track at Mount Wachusett Community College. Each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times — because cancer never sleeps.
“All proceeds from the jewelry sales will benefit the American Cancer Society with the hope that someday they will find a cure for this disease,” Sidorick said.
“As a mother I try to take each day one day at a time for now, and just keep being the mom I’ve always been,” Kennedy said. “I give Kelly lots of hugs and kisses and keep her close. We are with her always; we support and love her through everything ahead.
“Kelly is a remarkable and amazing woman, and I have seen her toughness in her soul and spirit that has given her the courage to fight this battle and win the war even with all the obstacles that have been in front of her along the way.
“We always stay positive!”
Kennedy believes in the saying “When someone has cancer, the whole family and everyone who loves them does, too.
“Kelly has so much love and support from her family and friends — that cancer cannot take away from her,” Kennedy said.
Sidorick continues to amaze her mom.
“She always worries about everyone else’s feelings and how we are all coping,” Kennedy said.
Although Sidorick’s prognosis is unknown, family and friends continue to stay positive and fight through all her battles with her.
“My mother is one of my biggest supporters, always by my side,” Sidorick said. “When someone you love is battling cancer, the whole family fights alongside them. When I’m weak, they’re all strong for me. I want to thank my mother and family for always standing with me, I am forever grateful. One thing I’ve found throughout this terrifying journey is everyone affected by this disease comes together and forms a bond. We all understand what it feels like to fight for our lives, and we all find hope through someone else’s story. We all stand together.”