Let's help Kelly, founder of Tumor Hater

Kelly Matthews has known a life of great loss and even greater hope.  After years of navigating life with, what we naively referred to as “bumps”, Kelly was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) at the age of 19.  NF1 is a genetic disorder that creates a mutation in the 17th chromosome and the tumor suppressant gene. This can cause a number of side effects, one of the most significant being the possibility of tumors developing on the nerves anywhere throughout the body. People with NF can have anywhere from zero to hundreds of tumors, the average being around five. Kelly’s body has an innumerable amount of tumors; doctors estimate over a thousand, which inevitably cause an immeasurable amount of pain and weakness. 

Five years ago, a friend of Kelly’s put together a fundraiser which would allow Kelly to pay for her mounting medical bills and continue to seek the care she desperately needed. Incredibly moved by her friend’s compassion, Kelly wanted to create a space for others in the same circumstance to also feel loved and supported by a community, an army; so she started a non-profit organization, Tumor Hater (read more about it at tumorhater.org).  Tumor Hater provides emotional support and financial assistance to those facing tumor related medical bills.  As the president and founder of Tumor Hater, Kelly has waived all of her rights to receive any monetary benefit, instead giving her time and energy to fundraise on behalf of a chosen Hero.

Out of her own loss, she has found hope.  Or, as she says it herself, “in your greatest weakness, you often find your greatest strength”.  As Kelly’s condition continues to progress, as tumors continue to grow and multiply, as new realities set in for her and as medical bills continue to pile up, she continues to dream and to trust. She dreams of Tumor Hater igniting courage and hope within others who feel overwhelmed by their medical circumstances, she dreams of how many people Tumor Hater can reach, how many communities can be pulled together to stand and fight with those who are battling tumors. She does all of this while trusting that her own financial needs will be met elsewhere. 

Guess what? We are the “elsewhere”. Kelly is the personification, the exemplification of the words “we rise by lifting others” (Robert Ingersoll).  We have witnessed her joy, passion, purpose and strength rise as she has dedicated her time and energy to providing support to Tumor Hater’s Heroes and their families.  It is our time to rise and lift her – to honor her for her continued service to those in our communities who are affected by tumors, to thank her for her generous spirit, and to show her that she, too, has an army behind her, supporting her through her own battle with tumors.

All financial donations will go towards offsetting Kelly’s medical bills (MRIs, checkups, visits to out of state specialists, surgeries, etc.).  At this point, her medical bills are approximately $900 per month but will continue to grow as her tumors evolve and new symptoms arise. We believe in the power of community, in the spirit of humanity, and are deeply grateful for any amount donated.  Let’s love on Kelly and hate on tumors!
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