At Mesothelioma Circle, we know how tough life can get with a malignant disease. You may find it difficult to engage in the activities you once enjoyed. Fatigue may become an issue. Maintaining the relationships you have with the people you love can take more work.
Whenever we hear about someone who can keep their chin up while battling the symptoms of mesothelioma, we want to share their story with our readers. Not only are these tales uplifting, but they demonstrate the diversity of our community.
The Journal Sentinel in Milwaukee recently published a profile on Gus Kelly, a man who served as the chief chef of the local Salvation Army’s Christmas Family Feast for about five years, including the most recent celebration. Kelly recently announced that he would be retiring because of his mesothelioma diagnosis. But while he may not be physically able to serve food to people anymore, his philosophy of bringing strangers together will continue to live on.
Chef discusses importance of eating together
Kelly, 72, has worked several jobs in his lifetime. He owned a Southern-style buffet restaurant, served as the dean of culinary arts at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and cooked food for various summer festivals. Furthermore, his volunteer work underscored his belief in breaking down the barriers that divided people within his community.
“You have blacks, whites, those with money and those without all sitting at tables with people who may not have a family to have a meal with or those who do have family that just want to be around other people,” Kelly told the news source.
To him, the fellowship of the meal was ultimately just as important as the food itself.
Kelly’s daughter, Chanin Kelly-Rae, told the news source that he would be retiring after being diagnosed with stage four mesothelioma. He will no longer be able to help coordinate the Christmas Family Feast, which takes a whole year of preparation. However, he insists that he will be leaving it in good hands.
Philosophy can help find inner peace
Kelly’s attitude toward his volunteer work can be seen as an example of spirituality. This concept is not always the same as being religious. Instead, spirituality touches upon how one’s beliefs regarding inner peace and relationships with the surrounding world influences their behavior.
Experts from the National Cancer Institute note that spirituality can have several benefits for patients who have malignant diseases, such as reductions in anxiety and depression, better blood pressure and an improved quality of life.
If spirituality is an important part of your life during cancer treatment, talk to your doctor. He or she may be able to refer you to an in-house team of counselors, or provide you with information on spiritual centers outside the hospital.
Volunteer work may nurture spirituality
Caregivers and mesothelioma patients who feel well enough to be active in the community may find joy and satisfaction in volunteer work, just like Kelly. The American Cancer Society has several programs in which individuals can volunteer their time.
- The Hope Lodge offers shelter for cancer patients who travel throughout the U.S. for treatment.
- I Can Hope is an adult education program for cancer patients and their caregivers.
- Look Good…Feel Better offers free lessons for female cancer patients who wish to maintain a feeling of beauty and glamour during their battle.
- Road to Recovery provides transportation to patients in need of a ride to treatment.