04/11/11 Two-time cancer survivor Paqui Kelly, the wife of Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly, will share her story and personal experience with students of Culver Academies at an all-school assembly at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday (April 13) at Eppley Auditorium.
“Her story is truly inspirational and we are ecstatic to have her speak with students about her experiences with cancer and to rev everyone up for the Relay For Life,” said senior Kyle Blankenship (Crown Point, Ind.) who is co-chair of the Academies Relay For Life.
Kelly’s appearance will serve as a prelude to the Academies’ fourth annual Relay For Life at 7 p.m. Friday (April 15) at Oliver Field, located at the corner of Indiana 10 and 117. The Academies’ Relay was the first in Indiana to be student-organized and has raised more than $350,000. This year’s goal – which will be donated to cancer research – is $130,000.
Kelly’s breast cancer was diagnosed in June 2003 and led to her first surgery. She underwent a double mastectomy in the spring of 2008. The experience prompted the Kellys to establish Kelly Cares Foundation, a non-profit charity that supports organizations, initiatives, and programs that closely align with the goals and values of the Kelly family in the areas of health, education, and community, according to the foundation’s website (kellycaresfoundation.org).
Brian Kelly serves as chairman of the organization and Paqui Kelly is the vice president and co-founder. Upon taking the Notre Dame position in late 2009, the Foundation showed its support for Notre Dame’s mission and goals by presenting the school with a $250,000 gift.
The Academies’ Relay For Life is a community event with participation representing the school, the town and Marshall County. Sixty teams have signed up to participate to raise money, awareness, honor victims and their families, and to support cancer survivors. The walking by team members through the duration of the event symbolizes the fact that cancer never rests and, therefore, neither should the efforts to combat the disease.
As in years past, the Academies’ Relay will include an as yet unnamed Indianapolis Colts football player as a special guest. The evening will also include food, games, and live music, plus the usual events and commemorations, such as testimonials local cancer survivors and the luminary lap in which memory of cancer victims.
New this year will be a fireworks show after dusk provided by Mad Bomber Fireworks Productions.
Fair Oaks Farm in Demotte, Ind., is once again the event sponsor. Fair Oaks is owned and operated by Culver parents Michael and Sue McCloskey.
Donations to the Academies’ Relay For Life may be made online at www.Culver.org/relay.