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Student earns courage award

By Sarah Shannon

February 2, 2012

Brandee Kelly, sophomore, is to receive the 2011 Cleveland Clinic Courage Award.
Kelly is a guard on the CSU women’s basketball team.

Brandee KellyLast year she was diagnosed with lymphoma. Kelly felt a severe pain during practice, her first year on the team and went to the hospital.

Doctors found masses in her back, pelvis and leg.

“I asked the doctor if I was going to die,” Kelly said.

Lymphoma can be very serious when found in young patients, often deadly.

She started an intense series chemotherapy treatments; recovery was in her future.

Kelly was supported by her friends and teammates.

“My best friend Monica was there for me from the beginning,” Kelly said. “She went to every chemo treatment with me and was the first person I called when I got the news. My teammate Halle was there, making sure I always had food or checking if I needed anything else from the store.”

The Cleveland Clinic Courage Award is annually given away by the Cleveland Sports Commission and Cleveland Clinic Sports Health each January to a student athlete that has faced a medical challenge in their life and proved courageous through the situation and had determination to return to the game.

Kelly has just that, courage and determination.

After her final treatment, Kelly rang the ceremonial bell at Taussig Cancer Institute, alongside her family, coaches, and teammates, signaling not only her completion of chemotherapy, but that cancer was not going to keep her down.

Kelly finished the school year only missing a few weeks of school and completing all her finals. She also returned for the current women’s basketball season, rather than letting the lymphoma get the best of her.

She will receive the award on Feb. 2 at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.

“I was in the game room of Euclid Commons when I found out the news,” Kelly said. “I was blown away. Never did I think something like this would happen.”

This award proves that Kelly’s determination on and off the court has not gone unnoticed.