PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — October is breast cancer awareness month and one local foundation, set up in memory of a mother who lost her battle to the disease, is teaming up with a Philadelphia hospital in the fight to find a cure. Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl is On Your Side with their heartwarming story.
They’re getting used to life without their mom. The five Rooney kids are back to playing football and laughing. It’s been five years since they lost her. Jack is the only boy.
“It’s just really hard,” said Jack.
Kelly Rooney was 43 when she died of breast cancer. Her children were all under the age of 15 then. Kelly had one dying wish, to create a foundation to fight breast cancer.
“Having four daughters, Kelly wanted to make sure that what she went through, that they didn’t have to go through,” said Sean Rooney, Kelly’s husband.
95 percent of breast cancer patients, like Kelly, do not have a known genetic form of the disease. But research, being partially funded by the Kelly Rooney Foundation, will look at genetic risks that haven’t been identified, and if certain environmental factors can increase those risks.
“I have four girls 20, 19, 18, 16 and that scares the living you know what out of me,” said Sean.
It’s a fear they’ve learned to live with, surrounded by memories of all the happy time they spent with their mom.
“Probably just like her personality, and like her laugh and everything,” described Haley Rooney, Kelly’s daughter.
The Rooney Foundation is targeting research aimed specifically at preventing breast cancer in young women, something the Rooney girls think about all the time.
“It’s definitely really scary, but the Kelly Rooney Foundation has made like a lot of efforts to make us less scared and make us aware of all of our options,” said Molly Rooney, Kelly’s daughter.
“Even how sad it was losing her, we’re trying to do something positive and hopefully like I said, we’ll find a cure and beat this thing,” said Sean.
The Foundation has partnered with both Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center and BreastCancer.org.
Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3