For those of you who knew Kelli, you knew how important an education was to her and for her children. In her honor, we are continuing this fund to set up a scholarship for her two boys to achieve the education that Kelli would have wanted for them.
If you are reading this for the first time, please read Kelli's story below.
For those of you who have had the opportunity to meet Kelli, you know just how special she is. She is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, and friend. She always lights up the room with her smile and fills it with her contagious laughter. Kelli is a teacher at Silverado High School in Las Vegas. Teaching has been a passion for her and the relationships she has built with her students over the years shows the dedication and hard work she puts into her job everyday. Known as "Coach" by most of her students, she was the Varsity Girl's basketball coach until 2009, when she became a mother and wanted to spend more time with her family. Please take a few minutes to read about Kelli's fight against cancer.
In 2005, Kelli, who was 35 years old at the time, suffered a grand mal seizure while at home packing to go on a family vacation and was rushed to the hospital. Within days of her seizure, she was diagnosed with a very large malignant tumor in her brain (an oligioastrocytoma) located in her right frontal lobe. She immediately went into surgery and had a right frontal lobe resectomy with 95% of the tumor being removed. Following surgery, Kelli underwent 30 rounds of radiation and chemotherapy treatments daily. She was sent to UCLA and was told she would only have 2 years to live due to the aggressiveness of the tumor. Once she received that news, she showed her bravery and decided to move forward with experimental treatments as well as enduring chemotherapy 5 days in a row monthly, for 3 years. While doing chemotherapy, Kelli still chose to fight through it and continued to coach during that time. She found the strength in her basketball team and wanted to be with them to show that no matter what happens in life, you continue to fight. In 2009, the doctors deemed her tumor stable, which was 4 years after her initial diagnosis.
Since that time, Kelli and her husband, Kevin, achieved many new milestones. They adopted two boys, Linaudre and Donovan, and have started the adventures of being parents. Both Kevin and Kelli are actively involved in supporting their boys in their athletic endeavors. Linaudre and Donovan both just won their football league's championship this past November. Kelli has worked diligently over the last few years to become stronger, mentally and physically. She has been working towards her Ph.D over the last 3 years. At the time of her second diagnosis, she was a year a way from earning her Doctorate. Kelli became stronger physically by working out with her personal trainer and completing "two-a-days" in preparation for the Tough Mudder she completed in September of 2012 and a World Tri-Fit Competition in May of 2013.
In October of 2013, her tumor returned in the form of a Grade IV glioblastoma multiform, stronger than her original one, which grew back in front of her original tumor site. She once again underwent neurosurgery (craniotomy). Her surgeon was able to get the entire gross tumor but there were still strands left which are very aggressive. Kelli is currently unable to work due to the aggressive treatment protocol prescribed this time of two different types of chemotherapy. She has underwent the maximum amount of radiation a person can have in a lifetime during her first treatment, so that is no longer an option for her.
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