Andrew J. Roth
Shannon Kerr isn’t shy about proclaiming her status as a cancer survivor. Periodically, at Arizona Diamondbacks baseball games, she proudly waves a sign that announces her victory over non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
At the 2016 Battlefrog Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Kerr was joined by a stadium full of fans in drawing attention to the disease and the toll it can take.
As part of its mission to combine science and humanity to make cancer understandable, CURE Media Group sponsored a “moment” before the game to allow fans to honor loved ones touched by the disease, underscoring the importance of cancer research and education.
Each attendee was given a placard and asked to fill it out with the name of a loved one affected by cancer. Then the public address announcer asked the fans to rise and hold their placards for a moment of silence. It was during this moment that Kerr and her son, Stevie, held respective signs reading “me” and “mom.”
Kerr, 51, said the moment at the Fiesta Bowl was special. While she wasn’t able to share it with her husband and another son, who were seated elsewhere in the University of Phoenix stadium, she could feel the whole crowd pulling together.
At age 38, Kerr was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the most common type of blood cancer that originates in the lymphatic system. After radiation treatment, “everything was good to go,” she says, but the disease came back seven years later. It was then that she was treated with R-CHOP chemotherapy and underwent an autologous stem cell transplant in 2010. Kerr says she has been cancer-free for 5 1/2 years. Her outlook has changed since then.
“When I was going through treatment, I didn’t really want people to know, because I didn’t want people to feel sorry for me,” Kerr said. “But now that I’m a survivor, I have absolutely no issue with letting people know. We go to [Arizona Diamondbacks] games and I take signs all the time.”
Though Kerr could use a sign to encourage players, get fans to laugh or make it onto television, she chooses, instead, to announce her own personal score:
“Shannon 2, Cancer 0.”
#curetoday #kickcancersass #lymphomathon @merrilhoge pic.twitter.com/YAOHEUIqeW
— Shannon Naumann (@ShannonNaumann) January 1, 2016