From supportive partner to fastest woman in Canada

​Fifteen years ago, Kelly Fedorowich was hiding a secret: Her husband, David, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. To protect his family, David felt it best that only he and Kelly knew about it. Today, that secret is now very much in the open

“When we found out David had prostate cancer, there was a lot of sadness and loneliness,” Kelly says. “But when I learned that the feelings I was experiencing were normal, through conversations with other women whose husbands were facing prostate cancer, it opened me up to connect with David again.”

It wasn’t until two years after David was diagnosed and went through successful brachytherapy that they told their family. Talking helped change Kelly’s perception of how open to be with loved ones and others. “His mother’s reaction stirred me because she was concerned that if his cancer had been more advanced, she would have wanted to be there for him.”
Centre: Kelly; Left: son, Nikolas; Right: husband, David
Now, Kelly speaks proudly and publicly about her experience beside her husband through diagnosis, treatment, and recurrence nine years later.

Since 2013, she’s opened up and been involved in the local prostate cancer community in Calgary through support and awareness groups for men and those who love them.

“I went from hiding it and not even sharing with close family to being out there and proud that we could share this message with others.”

Caregivers are such an important part of the equation,” Kelly says. “Prostate cancer is a stressful diagnosis and women are usually the support system. While we’re giving support, we often forget to take care of our own needs, too.”

Her own self-care regime includes power walking in a local greenspace. “My mental clarity comes with walking,” she says. “That’s my salvation – it’s where I go when I just need to clear my head and put things into perspective.”
Kelly walking in the park near her home in Calgary
Today, David is thriving, and the tables have been turned. He is supporting her through a battle of her own: she’s trying to become the fastest woman in Canada - in a race car.

Kelly is the only Canadian woman to pilot a top fuel dragster. “It’s one of the fastest accelerating vehicles on the planet,” she says. “It goes from zero to 300 miles per hour in four seconds.”

It’s quite a feat, and one that Kelly doesn’t take lightly. “Every time I climbed into the cockpit while I was training last season, I was breaking a glass ceiling for Canadian women,” she says.

“Every burnout, every time I hit that throttle, I’m trying to be a role model for women to step out of their comfort zone.”

Kelly with her top fuel dragster

Combining her passions, Kelly spreads the message of early detection using her dragster. Every year, she sets up a booth at an international car show in Calgary, showcasing her race car, while also sharing important information about prostate cancer.

“It gives us an opportunity to start a conversation with people based on their interest in motorsports and we often transition into stories of how they’ve been impacted by prostate cancer,” she says. “The motto is to be wherever prostates gather, and the motorsports world is made up of a whole lot of guys with prostates.”

Kelly’s advice to others whose partners might be facing prostate cancer: “Get out to a support group and make connections. It brings vitality to your life.”

“Community really does bind us together.”

 
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Posted: 2019-03-04 10:53:04 AM


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