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Paqui and Brian Kelly

Did You Know?

One in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime.; July 2009

"You don't plan out or map, 'Hey, I'm going to start a foundation.' For Paqui and me it's a progression of who we are, and the path we've taken in our lives.” - Brian Kelly

Our Story

In December of 2002, our family was celebrating Brian’s D-II National Championship. While I was busy preparing high school students for chemistry exams, Brian was scheduling recruits, and our three young children were eagerly awaiting Santa’s arrival. Amidst the hustle and bustle, I had scheduled my first baseline mammogram that December, which revealed two small cysts. With no breast cancer in our family history, the cysts were considered fibrous and would be monitored every six months.

In June of 2003, a preventive lumpectomy was completed with a one in a million chance that the biopsy would be cancerous. When Brian asked me if I had heard back from the lab, I explained, “I am one in a million, honey!” So began our cancer journey. The following month, I completed a follow-up surgery and began phase two of my road to recovery. From August through October 2003, I completed my scheduled chemotherapy, followed by phase three of treatment – radiation – in November and December. It was faith, family, and friends that helped me navigate through those five long months of treatment.

We moved the family to Mt. Pleasant, MI in January of 2004, when Brian took the head coaching position at Central Michigan University. Our family was once again doing well and life was on track. In December of 2006, Brian was offered a job as head coach at the University of Cincinnati, and the rest of the family joined him in April of 2007.

In the spirit of our journey, Brian and I filed papers in September of 2007 to create the Brian Kelly Family Foundation. Just after the start of the foundation, I was diagnosed with a second cancer – different from the first – more aggressive in nature.

With God, family, and friends again by our side, we continued our personal journey. I began yet another journey in October of 2007, which included a lumpectomy and chemotherapy. With many prayers and wonderful medical and family support, we made the decision to complete a double mastectomy and reconstruction – a process completed in August of 2008.

During the most recent leg of our journey, Brian accepted a position with Notre Dame in December of 2009. With a clean bill of health and renewed zeal, the family foundation was renamed the Kelly Cares Foundation. Our family relocated to South Bend, Indiana in August of 2010 where the community has fully embraced our family and foundation. We have been blessed to have a strong, passionate, and committed family and foundation team members to assist us in our life journey that allows us the blessing of helping others in need.

Fight like a Champion!

Paqui Kelly

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