JAN. 9, 2004 | Ashley Keener knows what it means to keep a promise. Last year, the 15-year-old made a promise to her mother, who was struggling with breast cancer, that she would run in the Race for the Cure. Unfortunately, her mother didn’t live long enough to see that pledge carried out. Her mother died at age 49 on Oct. 4, 2003, the morning of the race. But that didn’t stop Ashley – she kept her promise and ran in the race anyway.
On Jan. 5, 2004, Ashley visited the Arkansas Cancer Research Center (ACRC) at the
In memory of her mother, Edna ‘Kaye’ Bruce Keener, Ashley and the Keener family presented a $10,500 check to the UAMS Foundation at a special reception held at UAMS. The gift establishes the “Edna Kaye Keener Memorial Fund,” which will be used to support breast cancer research at the ACRC. The family collected the money from friends and various churches and plans to raise $10,000 each year to add to the fund.
Rev. Malcolm Keener, Ashley’s father, expressed his gratitude to the UAMS physicians who cared for his wife during her illness. He personally thanked Ronda Henry-Tillman, M.D., assistant professor in the department of surgery in the College of Medicine and director of cancer control at the ACRC; Kent Westbrook, M.D., professor of the department of surgery in the College of Medicine and co-founder of the ACRC; and Laura Hutchins, M.D., professor of medicine in the College of Medicine and director of the division of hematology and oncology.
“This loss set into motion a mission and challenge that we believe Kaye would have wanted us to meet,” Rev. Keener said. “This challenge has three parts: First, we are setting up this fund in Kaye’s name that will raise money for the cure and research of breast cancer. Second, we are going to start a support group for children in public and private schools who have lost loved ones because of this disease; and third, we want to aid women of color who are struggling with breast cancer.”
Sandra Nichols, M.D., a graduate of the
Kaye also touched the lives of the physicians who cared for her. According to Westbrook, it was Kaye’s optimism that kept her alive for so long. “I’ve treated thousands of cancer patients and I don’t remember all the names and faces, but I will always remember Kaye. She fought as hard as any patient I have ever seen.”
E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., vice chancellor and dean of the
Donations can be made to the fund by calling (501) 686-8200, or by writing to the Edna Kaye Keener Memorial Fund, 4301 W. Markham, # 716,
Links on This Page
Arkansas Cancer Research Center: www.acrc.uams.edu/
UAMS College of Medicine: www.uams.edu/com
© 2004 University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. “UAMS,” “UAMS Online,” “UAMS News,” “UAMS Update,” “uams.edu,” and “Here’s to Your Health” are marks of UAMS.