In August 2020, Kelly Beccaccio was diagnosed with breast cancer. For most people who hear the words, “You have cancer,” it’s a shocking experience unlike anything else they’ve dealt with before. Unfortunately, for Kelly, it was all too familiar.
Three years earlier, in July 2017, Kelly was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), an autoimmune disease that affects the nervous system. That meant she was already full of “Don’t Ever Give Up” spirit.
“As the days passed after my MS diagnosis, I thought, ‘Nothing is going to take away what I love to do,’ ” Kelly said. “Running, cycling, being outdoors. I will not let MS change who I am. It’s a part of my life, but it will not define it.”
Following her breast cancer diagnosis, Kelly had a bilateral mastectomy and underwent chemotherapy, which she finished last December. While fighting cancer is obviously much different than MS, she said the common theme that has gotten her through both is all the encouragement she gets from friends and family.
“Over the last few months, the acts of kindness and encouragement have left me speechless,” she said. “It’s one thing to be strong, but I think strength also comes from the love and support you receive from others.”
Since her diagnosis, Kelly has started to consider how she can give back to other cancer patients who may be in a worse position than her. After some inspiration via ESPN (Kelly said Robin Roberts’ 2013 ESPYS speech was the biggest motivator for her), she searched for the V Foundation and discovered the Victory Ride to Cure Cancer. As someone who loves to ride, she immediately registered, without even thinking to ask her family or her doctors.
“I saw my dad fight colon cancer, and he fought until his last breath,” Kelly said. “I will live my life the same way … as long as you are breathing there is always hope!”
Kelly has always been inspired by her father, and she had him in mind when signing up for the Victory Ride. As she hops on her bike to ride, she’ll have what he used to tell her as a kid in the front of her mind: “Do what you love, and work at it with all your passion, no matter what it is, and every day you’ll find joy. You’ll come across bumps in the road, but keep going and don’t ever give up.”