ST. LOUIS – As a play-by-play broadcaster, John Kelly watches hockey teams battle night in and night out. And while those battles make for thrilling action and exciting television, none of them compare to a battle he witnessed a little closer to home.
Kelly’s aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly six years ago.
“(Cancer) touches home, whether it’s a family member or a close friend. It’s a tough battle for some people,” Kelly said Saturday. “My aunt is doing really well, with no long-term issues that we know. She’s really battled hard.”
With her story in mind (and to some extent, his father Dan’s, who passed away from lung cancer in 1989), it was no surprise to see Kelly participating alongside more than 1,900 people who registered for the Blues / FOX Sports Midwest team at Saturday’s Komen Race for the Cure in downtown St. Louis. The Blues had the largest registered team of any group at this year’s race and raised more than $66,000 for breast cancer research.
“Cancer obviously has touched our family, with my aunt and my dad and too many people in the Blues community,” Kelly said. “That’s why it’s always special to come down here and see all the people and meet some of the survivors. I know the Blues and FOX Sports Midwest try the best they can to help these people.”
Kelly emceed the pre-race festivities outside Scottrade Center by welcoming team members to the Blues headquarters, recognizing survivors, and handing out prizes to the team’s top fundraisers.
All fans that registered for the Blues team received a commemorative team T-shirt and access to the pre-race events outside Scottrade Center, which included a light breakfast, a team photo and an opportunity to sign a banner that will be displayed behind the Blues’ bench during a Hockey Fights Cancer night next season. Team members that raised more than $100 will receive a voucher good for a ticket to an upcoming game.
The Race for the Cure, which consists of a 5K race and a 5K walk / run, began at 8:30 a.m. with Blues mascot Louie leading the team to the starting line.
Over the past eight years, the Blues have helped raised over $470,000 for the cause.
According to breastcancer.org, one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. The Susan G. Komen Foundation estimates that 232,670 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2014, with about 40,000 resulting in death, making it the second-highest cancer-killer in women behind lung cancer. Fortunately, since 1990, the breast cancer mortality rate has decreased 34 percent largely due to early detection and improved treatment.
“Anytime you can help out something like this, you just automatically do it,” Kelly said. “It’s really awesome that Blues fans love their hockey team, and also, whether it’s a golf tournament or a bowling event or the Komen Race for the Cure, Blues fans are very supportive. The players and coaches help a lot in the community, but those folks couldn’t do what they do without the support of the fans.
“It goes hand-in-hand, and Blues fans are the best.”
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