'Cancer Lifer' Holley Kitchen dies at 42
When a Cedar Park woman shared the story of her Metastatic Breast Cancer on Facebook last summer, more than 51 Million people around the world watched her video.
We're sad to tell you: Holley Kitchen passed away Tuesday morning according to a Facebook post from the group "Holley Kitchen and the Cancer Lifers."
She made a huge difference while she was here by getting the word out about this disease. Last summer, Kitchen sat down with some flash cards she bought from HEB and made a little video set to music.
"I literally got this idea...I was praying and the Lord put this format on my heart and I thought, 'That's a little weird,' and I sat at that table right there," Kitchen told us last June.
She was hoping at least a thousand people would see it.
As of this week, more than 51 Million people have seen Holley's story about being diagnosed with Breast Cancer at age 39. Then months after being given the all-clear, she learned her Breast Cancer had metastasized to her hip and spine.
When FOX 7 interviewed Kitchen last summer, the wife and mother of two told us she thought her double mastectomy and hysterectomy would have prevented further problems.
"I had no idea that my Breast Cancer could come back somewhere other than my breasts. I truly in my heart thought if my breasts were gone I could not get Breast Cancer and that was not the truth. Breast Cancer can come back anywhere in your body and once it moves from its original location is where they get the term metastatic," Kitchen told us.
Kitchen was a supporter of Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Texas.
Executive Director Ray Anne Evans says Metastatic Breast Cancer is the type of Breast Cancer that kills.
"We've come a long way and yet Holley's other message is 'We haven't come far enough.' 40,000 women a year still die from Metastatic Breast Cancer. And most people don't know that it even exists. It's swept under the rug. Because we're too focused now on making women aware of Breast Cancer and not that people still die from Breast Cancer," Evans said.
After Kitchen's passing on Tuesday, the mood at BCRC was somber. Evans says the group is devastated.
"But it's a reminder of the work we do and the way we do it...and that we're here to create a community of support. And that's what we were able to give Holley. So she had a group of women that surrounded her who loved her, who supported her, Evans said.
But Holley's message heard all over the globe made a big difference.
"More people today know about Metastatic Breast Cancer and what it does and what it means than ever before...because of Holley," Evans said.
"You know, I'm hoping to create a legacy for them in that maybe you know when I am gone one day they'll be able to look back one day and say 'I remember Mom did an interview and I want to see her face' so that they know that my Cancer struggle had a purpose...that it was not for nothing and I'm doing it for them," Kitchen told us in June speaking of her children.
A couple of the websites Holley wrote down on her flash cards for all the world to see -- The Metastatic Breast Cancer Network: www.mbcn.org and www.breastcancer.org
There are a couple of ways you can donate to Holley's family to help with finances.
This is from the Holley Kitchen and the Cancer Lifers Facebook page:
"For anyone who wishes to support the Kitchen family financially, there are two ways to do that. There is a gofundme account set up here: https://www.gofundme.com/bas5g8 but please be aware that they take approximately 6% commission out of your donation.
Alternatively, you can donate through Paypal to the email address email@example.com (It's a long email so please double check to make sure you have it right). With this option they do not charge any fees and the money will be in her husband's name to make it easier on them. Please make sure you select the "Send money to friends or family" option."
Holley Kitchen, the Cedar Park woman who had metastatic breast cancer and made a video that went viral about her battle with the disease, has died.
The news was shared on social media:
There is a GoFundMe account that has been set up. You can get more information about that here.
FOX 7's Noelle Newton spoke with Holley in June 2015. The original story is as follows:
Metastatic breast cancer: Have you heard of it? A Cedar Park woman knew nothing of the term until her diagnosis. She created a powerful message about the disease and that message has now gone worldwide.
From her bedroom, Holley Kitchen told her breast cancer story with flash cards set to music. She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer at 39. After being determined cancer-free and undergoing a double mastectomy and hysterectomy, a scan revealed the breast cancer had metastasized or spread to her hip and spine.
"I literally got this idea, I was praying and the lord put this format on my heart and I thought, 'that's a little weird,' and I sat at that table right there. I got cards from H.E.B. and I sat and just wrote stuff down," said Kitchen.
Watch Kitchen's video here:
With 20 minutes to spare before a dinner date with her husband she created the video in two takes. She hoped 1,000 would watch. By noon on Wednesday more than 44 million had seen it.
"It's earth-shattering. It's over-powering," she said.
The wife and mother of four-year-old Bryson and six-year-old Colby has metastatic breast cancer. It was a term she did not know until her diagnosis.
"I had no idea that my breast cancer could come back somewhere other than my breasts. I truly in my heart thought if my breasts were gone I could not get breast cancer and that was not the truth. Breast cancer can come back anywhere in your body and once it moves from its original location is where they get the term metastatic," said Kitchen.
There is no cure.
Kitchen feels fortunate in that her doctor did routine scans after she was determined cancer free possibly saving her from the cancer spreading even further. She urges cancer survivors to demand follow up appointments.
"I am no researcher, I am nothing medical. I am just a mom on a mission," she said.
Your views make that mission complete.
"You know, I'm hoping to create a legacy for them in that maybe you know when I am gone one day they'll be able to look back one day and say I remember mom did an interview and I want to see her face so that they know that my cancer struggle had a purpose," said Kitchen. "That it was not for nothing and I'm doing it for them."
Kitchen has created a Facebook page as a discussion site for those who are cancer lifers like her or for anyone seeking more information about metastatic breast cancer.
Visit here Facebook page, Holley Kitchen and the Cancer Lifers, here.
She has received countless messages. She says she plans to answer every single one of them.
Watch an extended interview with Kitchen here.