Tim Jones

Patriots Pride Helps Woman Battling Breast Cancer

New England Patriots fans show their pride in creative ways, but one super fan, Seacoast YMCA Branch Manager Kelli McKenna is a stand-out. 

In September, McKenna was diagnosed with breast cancer. 

"You get the diagnosis and you sort of have this moment where 'this can't be happening how am I gonna do this?'" said McKenna. "Finding things in your life that keep you feeling normal and keep you upbeat is key to me and the Patriots definitely do that for me." 

Like many cancer patients, McKenna lost her hair, but she didn't let it get her down. Instead, she used her new do to show some Patriot pride. 

"I'd gone to the party store and got some stuff to decorate and we got done temporary tattoos so as a joke I put one on the back of my head my bald head from my chemo treatments," said McKenna. 

Kelli tweeted out a picture of her tatted head and got a big surprise, an invitation from the Patriots to the AFC Championship game for two. 

"A later a friend of mine sends me a screenshot from the New England Patriots from twitter inviting me to the game," McKenna said. "So we looked and the thing had gone viral. It has like, 2,200 likes and 250 retweets. Being at the AFC Championship game and sharing it with my daughter during this time which is challenging, it meant the world to me." 

McKenna is currently sporting a new Patriots tattoo and plans on getting a permanent one after her treatment is complete. Like Patriots mantra, Kelli is "Not Done," fighting to win the biggest battle of her life. 

"I definitely know that there's a calling and there's a reason for me to be here and I know that I'm not done yet," McKenna said. 

For now, Kelli is looking forward to the super bowl game which she plans to watch with her family and of course, being cancer free. Kelli will have surgery in April and hopes to be done with treatment in the summer. 

"If love could cure cancer, I'd be cured in an instant because people have been so loving and so supportive and so many people praying. It's so much positive energy around you have to just be open to it," McKenna said. "You can't get too far ahead of yourself you gotta know that you're not done yet, there's more steps but you just go one step to the next to the next and that's sort of what makes me think about with this process and the same as how the Patriots prepare." 

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