A Race for More Time
Kelci Stanfield plays with her kids and husband. Kelci was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in her brain. (Ben and Kelci Stanfield/Residents)
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By Peri Kinder | perik @mycityjournals.com
Four years might not seem very long, but to Kelci Stanfield it would mean four more Christmases, four more summer vacations and four more years of birthdays to celebrate with her family. Time is precious to Stanfield, 26, because while expecting her third child, she was diagnosed with a grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM): a cancerous tumor in her brain.
Her pregnancy started off fine. With two other children, Leopold, 4, and Vesper, 21 months, Stanfield and her husband, Ben, were excited to add another little girl to their growing family, and were eager to move to Virginia where Ben had been accepted to medical school. But not long into her pregnancy, she began to develop severe headaches, nausea and vomiting.
Although Stanfield’s midwife and husband were very concerned, the emergency room doctors didn’t feel the symptoms were worrisome, attributing the illness to hormones and pregnancy. However, the problems got worse and soon her vision became blurred. By May she was almost blind.
In her blog, Stanfield wrote, “In my heart, I knew there was something seriously wrong, but couldn’t find the words pressing enough to convince the physicians seeing me . . . Unwilling to go back to the ER to face another embarrassing incident of ‘You’re a hormonal, crazy pregnant lady. Go home,’ I resorted to an eye patch.”
It took a visit to her optometrist to get to the heart of the matter. One look at Stanfield’s eyes and her doctor knew she was a seriously ill young woman. She told Stanfield to get to the ER immediately and tell the doctors she had a brain tumor.
Test results confirmed an aggressive cancerous tumor and Stanfield underwent brain surgery when she was 30 weeks pregnant. Plans were made to induce her pregnancy early (at 34 weeks) to get started on chemotherapy and radiation treatments as soon as possible. Baby Margot was born at the end of August, is doing well and is considered a miracle.
Stanfield knows she doesn’t have long, but she is willing to do whatever needs to happen to spend as much time as she can with her family.
“Most [people with GBM] can expect to live about a year, whereas I am looking at something along the lines of two to four years,” she wrote. “Believe me when I say that I weep hot tears of gratitude for the time extension. I want as many days with my babies and family as I can get. I will fight and do everything in my power to beat the odds, but am trying to find peace within the time that I have.”
Family and friends have rallied around Stanfield and have organized the 5K For Kelci run/walk fundraiser, which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 8 at Germania Park in Murray (5243 Murray Parkway Ave.) The race starts at 9 a.m. and will include a silent auction, a raffle and a bake sale with all the profits going to help cover the extensive medical treatments that will give her a little more time with her family.
Ben’s mother, Liz Stanfield, lives in Murray and has been overwhelmed at the love and support being directed to her daughter-in-law, her son and her grandchildren.
“There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do for them,” Liz said. “They are baby-lovers and had hoped for a great big family, but with everything that has happened in the last few months, they realize that having baby Margot arrive safe and sound is a miraculous and indescribable blessing. I think it puts into perspective how our plans and lives can completely change in the blink of an eye.”
To follow Kelci’s journey, visit her blog at kelcistanfield.wordpress.com. For more information about the fundraiser, visit 5K For Kelci on Facebook. Donations can also be made at the YouCaring compassionate crowdfunding site at www.youcaring.com/kelci-stanfield-family-619934.