Jeannette race to honor friend’s battle with breast cancer, raise money for research
When Kelly Singer Marquis was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in January, her friends leaped into action to organize meals and help Singer Marquis with her three children.
But they wanted to do more.
“She loves to run — a 5k would be perfect,” said Sarah Ponzetti, who got together with a group of friends and planned a race in Singer Marquis’ honor: the Fight Like Kelly 5K Run, which will be held Oct. 13 in Jeannette.
“She’s full of energy, mother of three,” Ponzetti said of Singer Marquis. “She would do anything for anybody. I think everyone was just in real shock whenever she told us.”
Race proceeds will be donated to the Glimmer of Hope foundation, a Pittsburgh-based nonprofit that supports breast cancer research. The organization focuses on studies in premenopausal breast cancer, which affects younger women and can be very aggressive.
“We can’t be chasing this disease,” said Diana Napper, founder of Glimmer of Hope. “We need to be proactive with these young women before they have this disease.”
Singer Marquis said she’s also working to get the message out about early detection and to encourage young women to be aware of their health.
“Just know your body,” Singer Marquis said. “Know when you feel like something isn’t right. Don’t sit back and wait — and don’t be scared and nervous.”
Singer Marquis, who turns 40 in October, found a lump during a self exam. She went to her doctor, who sent her for tests. She was diagnosed Jan. 23.
Singer Marquis said she might have waited a few months to get the lump checked out. She doesn’t have a family history of breast cancer, and the American Cancer Society recommends that women start considering regular mammograms at age 40. But her gut told her something wasn’t right.
Now, Singer Marquis encourages other women to act quickly if they think something is off.
“And as moms, and as working moms, we don’t always do that,” she said.
Since her diagnosis, Singer Marquis underwent successful surgery and several rounds of chemotherapy. She’ll finish treatment this month and plans to be ready to run the race in her honor in October.
The race and a 1-mile walk are scheduled for Oct. 13 and will begin at South Fifth Street and Magee Avenue in Jeannette. Check-in opens at 12:30 p.m. and the race starts at 2 p.m. Food trucks, music, face painting and kids crafts will be part of post-race activities.
Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.