The Delran Fire Company’s beef and beer fundraiser on Sept. 10 brought the community together to support 30-year-old breast cancer patient Kelsey Strain.
Kelsey tested positive for the BRCA1 breast cancer gene in June of last year, according to her mother Roni. Women with the gene are 98 percent likely to develop breast cancer.
“Kelsey exhibited great strength, courage and resilience during this time,” Roni said, describing her daughter as kind, thoughtful, compassionate, funny and full of life.
While doctors told Kelsey she didn’t need to react immediately to the test because she was cancer free, she chose to have a preventative double mastectomy,” according to her mother.
“Kelsey listened to her gut and scheduled the surgery on April 27,” Roni noted.
“In the four months waiting for the surgery, a triple-negative malignant tumor was revealed, which is the most aggressive form,” Roni recalled. Additional testing, procedures and treatments followed, including chemotherapy.
“Kelsey had two surgeries, three procedures and four rounds of chemo,” Roni said.
In October, she will face one more procedure for plastic surgery revisions. But Kelsey also looked to the future, ensuring her dreams of being a mother by freezing her eggs and undergoing in vitro, since it was likely chemotherapy could damage her ovaries.
Despite going through a rigorous cancer battle, Kelsey is always uplifting women, her mother said.
“Kelsey wants to encourage young women to be aware of their genetic history and not to be afraid to be your own advocate,” Roni advised, quoting her daughter. Kelsey believes women should stay on top of cancer screenings and listen to their gut.
All proceeds from the beef and beer went directly toward Kelsey’s medical bills and cost-of-living expenses. Roni Strain expressed her gratitude to its participants.
“The event is a gathering of dear friends and family who have rallied around Kelsey and her journey.” she noted. “There’s been an amazing outpouring of support as seen by the amount of loved ones who were in attendance.“