‘Fun-raiser helps woman battling cancer
February 1, 2005
“There’s something so special that happens when women get together for a good cause,” said Kelly Dresser-LeCount.
And Kelly should know.
Last Friday evening, Kelly organized what she refers to as a “fun-raiser” for Jonell Fordyce. J.J., as Jonell is known to her friends and family, was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer last fall, just before her 33rd birthday.
This is her second go around with breast cancer. After beating it the first time, four years ago, J.J. thought she was cancer-free, and was ready to live the rest of her life, raising her two daughters, Ashley, now 14, and Hailey, now 19 months.
But first, J.J. has yet another fight before her. The cancer is now in her bones, pelvis, ribs, skull, spine and wrists. She has no medical insurance, no income. Her illness forced her to stop working, and Medicaid is pending. She does not qualify for disability. Much of her medication comes directly out of pocket. Her pain medication is especially expensive, so J.J. only takes it when she can no longer stand not to.
Kelly knows about this fight firsthand. Ten years ago, her funny, intelligent, sparkling little boy, Billy, was battling a rare form of cancer of his own. At times it seemed like Kelly and Bill against the world, and it was during this time that J.J. and her sister Phyllis stepped in and helped them, getting the word out to the community, collecting change jars, and staying close by Kelly’s side.
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Today, Bill is a healthy teenager, into music, computers and studying. He barely remembers his illness. But Kelly can’t and won’t, forget, and it’s time to return what was given to her.
“It’s like that movie, ‘Pay it Forward,'” Kelly said.
While so many of us have had devastating illnesses touch our lives, there are still those who give so much without having to know personally this type of heartbreak.
“Small communities take good care of their own,” Kelly said.
If Friday nights “fun-raiser” was any indication, she’s right. More than 30 women gathered at the home of Kelly’s sister, Cindy Farmer, in Johnson Lane. Many were strangers to J.J., there by word of mouth, there simply because they heard they needed to be, there because they had support to give and because they understood what happens when women get together.
They ate, they talked and they laughed. They played bingo for donated prizes. This group raised almost $1,200 for J.J. in a couple of hours of fun.
Kelly took a moment to remind the group about the importance of regular examinations. J.J. was only 25 when she diagnosed the first time, far younger than the age usually recommended for breast examinations.
Kelly is planning more fund-raisers in the near future. If you would like information on future plans for these get togethers, call Kelly Dressler-LeCount at 267-2659.
If you are interested in making a donation to help Fordyce, contact the Greater Nevada Credit Union, Minden Branch, 1545 Highway 395. The account number is 838937.
— Pegi Webster writes the Johnson Lane Journal every other week. She can be reached at 267-3820 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.