Local family needs community’s support

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2010

Being diagnosed with leukemia isn’t something any 30-year-old foresees for the future, but that’s what just happened to one local husband and father.

Chris Kelley of Andalusia recently went in to have a tonsillectomy, but routine blood work revealed an astounding white blood count, family friend April Blair said.

Kelley had acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a form of cancer that starts inside the bone marrow, the soft tissue inside the bones that helps form blood cells.

AML is one of the most common types of leukemia, but is rare for those under age 40.

Blair said Kelley under went his second round of chemotherapy on Wednesday.

Since the family has no health insurance, Blair is organizing two fundraisers to help with medical costs and the travel to and from Dothan for Kelley’s wife, Stephanie, who is the family’s only source of income.

Blair said those wishing to make a contribution can do so at Darby’s Village Pharmacy.

“Dena Padgett, Chris’s sister-in-law, works there,” she said. “I’ll also be putting out 10 to 12 jugs at various convenience stores and at a few banks by the end of the week.”

Blair said she understands the economy is rough, but any amount people can spare will be appreciated.

“If you can spare $5 or $10 or even a $1, every little bit will help,” she said. “We want for Stephanie to be able to focus on Chris and not worry about having to work.

“You never know when it could be someone in your family,” she said.

The couple has a 9-year-old son, Taylor, and a step-son, Jeremy, 18.

“With school starting back, if anyone can help them with purchasing school clothes or supplies, that would also be appreciated,” she said. “This was all so unexpected. Any and all support will be appreciated.”

Blair said for those who cannot afford to help, she asks that the community remember the family in their prayers.

Chris Kelley was recently diagnosed with AML, a form of leukemia. He is shown with his son, Taylor. The family has no health insurance. | Courtesy photo