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Outpouring of Donations Honors Mother, Daughter

Vision of Hope Cancer Walk Supports Patients in Need

Seven years ago, Kerri McClean organized a walk to raise funds for women with cancer while battling the disease herself. Kerri passed away from cervical cancer a year later at age 40, but every year, family and friends continue to hold the three-mile Vision of Hope walk in her memory.

At age 35, Kerri was diagnosed with stage 2B cervical cancer. After surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, she received a clean bill of health. But two years later, Kerri learned the disease had returned and metastasized to her spleen. She underwent surgery again to remove her spleen and reconstruct her diaphragm, then was treated with additional chemotherapy and radiation.

During her recovery, Kerri could not work, which devastated her finances. She and friends created the organization Reproductive Relief to help other women whose income was affected by cancer treatment. With the money raised from the Vision of Hope walk, the organization helped provide for necessities like food and transportation to appointments, as well as services such as Reiki and reflexology.

Following Kerri’s death, Reproductive Relief formalized a relationship with Women & Infants to benefit two of the hospital’s programs: the Women in Need Fund, which provides assistance with food, medications and other unforeseen needs to qualifying patients who encounter financial hardship during treatment; and the Integrative Care Program, which combines traditional treatment with complementary therapies such as massage, reflexology, art therapy, yoga, Reiki and meditation to help patients achieve wellness physically and emotionally. To date, the Vision of Hope walk and other charitable donations in Kerri’s honor have raised close to $30,000 for these hospital programs.

“Kerri was very specific about how she wanted to help others going through cancer treatment,” said Marie Prisco, Kerri’s mother.

“She wanted to affect women directly and personally in their daily lives. Whether they need a wig, food or massage, Kerri wanted to help women in practical ways that are also incredibly valuable.

“Women & Infants was the perfect partner for her vision because the hospital’s two programs share the same goal: providing relief.”

The seventh annual Vision of Hope walk was held on September 13, 2015 at City Park in Warwick. Complimentary Reiki, reflexology, massage, chiropractic and astrology services were offered.

“The goal of the walk is to make a difference in the lives of patients,” Marie said. “Since Kerri battled cancer, she understood how difficult it was to undergo treatment, both physically and financially. By holding the event, she wanted other women to know that even in the worst of times, there’s help and hope.”

To find out more about the Vision of Hope Walk, please call Jack Gold, Women & Infants Philanthropy, at (401) 921-8509 or email him at JGold@carene.org.

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