The Legacy of My Legal Name (Joy)

By Kellie Conway Edson

Kellie Edson
Kellie Edson

My legal name is Joy, though I’ve always gone by Kellie.   My parents named me after my mom’s sister Joy and I think they called me by my middle name because my mom just wasn’t ready to call me by her sister’s name.  Joy passed away of breast cancer when she was 31 years old.  This was in 1975 when treatment options were more limited, but even now – there is still so far to go with research and the attempt to find a cure.  I have had five other relatives fight the disease and we have determined that one relative even has the BRCA gene.

Suffice it to say breast cancer is huge deal for me, personally. On top of my familial history, a close friend of mine who is just one of those genuinely ‘good’ people (ain’t that always the way?) recently found out that her stage 4 breast cancer has come back.  They had thought that the daily chemo drugs she was taking had kept it at bay – the tumors in her liver, bones and breasts had shrunk to almost nothing, but it only worked for a few years before resurfacing.  She’s in the process of looking into other experimental treatments at Stanford. It has been heartbreaking to watch her struggle over the last five years.

According to about one in eight U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. About 40,000 women in the U.S. were expected to die in 2014 from breast cancer.   Chances are, if you are reading this you have a personal experience with breast cancer, whether it be with a friend, a colleague, an acquaintance or family member.

Joy age 31
My Aunt Joy, the Christmas before she passed away.

The Komen Race for the Cure is again coming to Sacramento this May, on Mother’s Day weekend. Coincidentally for me, this will be 40 years nearly to the day that my Aunt Joy passed away.

According to the Komen website: 75 percent of the net income stays in our community to help fund local programs offering breast health education and breast cancer screening and treatment. The remaining 25 percent of the net income supports the Susan G. Komen® Grants Program. So by participating in the Race for the Cure you are directly affecting women in our community who are fighting this disease.

There are many ways you can get involved. You can walk or run the race, volunteer, donate, sponsor and even “sleep in for the cure.” You can find more information on their website.




  • What: Sacramento Komen Race for the Cure
  • When: May 9th, 2015  (Check out full race schedule here.)
  • Where: Cal Expo (1600 Exposition Blvd.)
  • Why: Because Women MATTER. Because Breast Cancer MATTERS 
  • Additional Info: There will be timed and untimed 5K, 10K and 1-mile races and additional pricing for children participating


I hope to see you out there!


You might also like

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.