Today’s column is not going to make you chuckle, but maybe it will inspire you to face medical maladies head on. This summer alone, I have been scanned, scoped and surveyed to make sure that I am healthy. I’m just at that age where I must pay attention to my body. All these tests turned out fine, but that’s not the case for many people who are given a cancer diagnosis that forever changes their life. I want to tell you about a family and their battle with the disease for two reasons. First, because there is hope. Cancer research and funding continues to grow, and we are blessed in St. Louis to have one of the best cancer centers around. And second, because I want you to stop putting off that needed scope or scan because it is inconvenient.
I met my friend Kira Andersen when she was pregnant with her first child. She was a spin instructor, and for one of my many articles for this publication, I did a feature on fitness. The workout was tough, but as we all know, I hate to sweat and do any sort of physical activity other than change the channel on the TV. My fingers are in excellent shape, I might add. Kira and I kept in touch as she had two more children and a very full life as health and wellness coach. I was sad to hear that Kira’s husband, Kyle, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about two years ago. Pancreatic cancer is a silent cancer. By the time you have symptoms, the disease has most likely spread to other major organs, which was the case with Kyle.
But neither Kira or Kyle let fate chart their course. Instead, they got involved. Kyle was enrolled in a clinical trial conducted by Dr. Kian Lim. Funding, $3 million to be exact, was needed for the trial to move forward so Kira used her sales skills expertise to ask people to donate. She was relentless in her efforts to make sure that just not Kyle, who had gotten a compassionate use exception by the FDA, but other people who needed to be part of the research had a chance. They wrote letters and made phone calls asking people for donations. The Andersens were the little engine that could, raising more than $600,000.
Sadly, after a long fight, cancer took Kyle in April, but that did not stop Kira from her quest to raise awareness and money for cancer research. As a health and wellness coach, she knows the food we eat and the amount of exercise we do are all important factors to living a healthy life. She also knows paying attention to your own body helps you know when something is not quite right.
Kira continues the fight and is determined to reach that $3 million goal for Dr. Lim’s research. She has drafted friends and family to be part of Pedal the Cause held this weekend. If you want to donate, visit mypedalthecause.org and search for Kira Andersen. Her rider I.D. is #210202. If not, consider giving Kira a follow on Instagram @theessentialsbyKira. Just reading her daily posts will make you a little bit healthier, and that’s what I want, healthy and happy readers. Funny returns next time. Peace my peeps.