Kelly Frakes – 2017 Ambassador
City: Greenfield, IN
Date of diagnosis: November 2015
Occupation: Executive Assistant at Community Health Network
Every year since 1988 when Kelly had her first child, she has gone to get a mammogram. In 2015, Kelly almost didn’t go but decided to get an appointment before she left to go on a two-week vacation to visit her daughter in Hawaii. Her mammogram came back abnormal but Kelly was not shaken; she had an abnormal reading five years prior and assumed this time wasn’t any different. A follow-up appointment was made for the day after she and her husband returned from vacation.
When they returned from vacation, her husband reminded Kelly of the appointment that she nearly forgot about. The doctor requested they do a biopsy that day, and still Kelly remained calm. When the doctor and technician wondered why she was not asking and why she wasn’t concerned, Kelly knew her husband would have all the questions, so she invited him to leave the waiting room and join the appointment. A couple days later Kelly received the call confirming she had breast cancer. From working in the hospital system, she knew the doctor well and trusted she was in good hands. Unable to get into the doctor’s office that same day, she called her husband and broke the news to him. She reassured him that they were going to be fine. They compiled their questions together and went in the next day.
Soon after her diagnosis, Kelly had a lumpectomy that resulted in clear margins, removing all the cancer in one surgery. Then she had eight weeks of radiation, which she lovingly called her “lunch dates” because she completed treatment during her lunch hour, continuing to work through most of her treatment.
Kelly says she remembers feeling very loved and supported during her breast cancer journey. She worked hard to keep her sense of humor, even when her husband thought she wasn’t taking her diagnosis seriously. She said she is a strong believer in the power of positive attitude and the effect that it can have on the body.
Through it all, Kelly was determined not to let cancer change her or define her. She reminded her husband of the woman that he married, and assured him, -she was still that woman.
Since finishing treatment in 2016, Kelly has used her breast cancer diagnosis to help others. After she got diagnosed, she began strongly encouraging other women in her life to schedule mammograms and make these appointments a priority, no matter how tempting it could be to prioritize it below other things. As a result of her persistence, her sister-in-law decided to get a mammogram and was diagnosed with the same type of breast cancer. Kelly says she truly believes mammograms save lives. Without her mammogram, she wouldn’t have caught her breast cancer when she did. Kelly continues encourage women in her workplace to go get their mammograms, even offering to help them get one scheduled if they need help!
Kelly has been married to her husband for 28 years and they have three daughters together. Kelly considers herself a sports junkie and enjoys watching sports live or on television, especially Major League Baseball and football season! ‘
Kelly and her family participated in their first Race for the Cure in 2016, after she had completed all her treatments. She plans to continue participating and wants to extend her support for Komen and the Race for the Cure to the cities her daughters live in; Cincinnati and Honolulu.
Kelly’s takeaway message for others: “Mammograms, mammograms, mammograms is what I want to stress. The importance of all women getting their mammograms WILL save their lives. It did for me and my sister-in-law.”