The Marylou Kennedy Fund
Marylou Kennedy was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1944, the second child of Thomas and Mary McRann, and grew up in Wellesley, Massachusetts. She was a graduate of Regis College in Weston, Massachusetts. She married John E Kennedy,Jr. in June, 1968 and they raised their family in Maryland, New Jersey and Michigan. Throughout her life Marylou radiated peace and joy that came from her strong faith in the Lord and was blessing to all who knew her.
When she was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer on June 14, 2002, her first hope was in God. She knew that whatever happened, He was going to be there for her. She lived her life with an eternal perspective.
She also had great faith in people. She believed cancer researchers would continue to find new and better ways to control the disease. In fact, some of the effective chemotherapy treatments Marylou received became available only during the course of her illness.
Marylou lived a remarkably normal life for almost five years after her initial diagnosis. Her spirit combined with exceptional care at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center allowed her to live comfortably well beyond the initial prognosis. She benefited from the work of those fighting this deadly disease, and now her family and friends want to give back. The Marylou Kennedy Fund was established to give hope to lung cancer patients by providing continuous support for innovative research at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death for both men and women in the United States. It causes more deaths than cancers of the breast, prostate, colon, and pancreas combined. Each year, more than 200,000 people are diagnosed with lung cancer, and more than 160,000 die because of it. Only 15 percent of lung cancer patients survive beyond five years of their diagnosis-leaving few to advocate for research to stop this disease. The Marylou Kennedy Fund seeks to be a voice for those who have been silenced by lung cancer.
The perception that lung cancer is self-induced has resulted in an unjustifiable lack of sympathy within our society and our political system for those suffering from this disease. About 20 percent of women who have lung cancer never smoked; the same is true of 10 percent of male lung cancer patients.
Lung cancer research needs and deserves our help to improve treatment and, ultimately, to find a cure. Help us spur advances in medicine to help those like Marylou by considering a donation to the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. Marylou rose to meet the challenges of lung cancer; we plan to honor her memory by doing the same.