Brooke Conley, Chip would have leapt at the chance to pour some sugar on you!! Thank you for always getting it right when you write about Chip and giving me the gift of your words. I missed seeing you this birthday weekend but am grateful Chip brought us together (and that you are still championing the #selfawareness cause). – Sheila
Brooke’s new blog post:
My birthday is a few days away, which in my younger years signaled the start of a week-long party filled with the types of shenanigans that are forever locked in a memory vault titled Shit You Do Before Kids. These days, there are no t-shirts to mark the occasion or requests for the DJ – there is simply reflection and gratitude. (Although if someone made me a shirt, I wouldn’t be mad about it.)
This year is particularly bittersweet because it’s the first without my dear friend Chip. Every year since we left the Beltway, I’ve traveled back to D.C. for my birthday weekend. I even managed to make it the year I had an actively nursing 5-month-old baby girl. I packed up my breast pump and my postpartum depression, stocked the freezer with four days worth of milk, and left her in Arizona with her daddy. Clearly there wasn’t much that could keep me away.
My favorite part of the weekend was a long lunch with Chip, where we looked forward to recapitulating the previous twelve months in one sitting. As the years wore on, our conversations turned more reflective as we added spouses, kids, career changes and, ultimately, cancer to our list of things to discuss. Our last lunch was difficult because he was ill from chemotherapy and unable to eat. But he still showed up.
Chip always showed up.
Many thanks to Rebecca Gale for reporting on the Chip Kennett Memorial Golf Tournament. Her article will appear in Monday’s print edition of Roll Call. This is going to be a great event! – Sheila
Members of Congress, Staff Tee Off to Remember Chip Kennett
By Rebecca Gale
Members of Congress, current and former staffers are among the honorary host and tournament committees of The Chip Kennett Memorial Golf Tournament, scheduled for Oct. 26 at the Westfields Golf Club in Clifton, Va.
Kennett was a former Capitol Hill staffer who received a stage IV lung cancer diagnosis in 2012 at the age of 31. He became an advocate for more cancer research funding and increased access to clinical trial medications, even testifying to Congress about his personal experience. Advocates within the cancer community credit his fight with helping spur congressional action.
He died on Jan. 17, at the age of 34.
“Three years ago on October 26th, as a seemingly healthy 31-year-old man and soon-to-be father of our second child, Chip was diagnosed with stage IV non-smokers lung cancer and given 1-2 years to live. No one, no spouse, no parent, no child, no friend deserves to hear that,” his wife, Sheila Kennett, said in an email to CQ Roll Call. “On October 26th, we honor Chip’s life and continue his work in raising funds and awareness for LUNGevity, an organization that provided us with indispensable support and remains in the forefront of need and developing treatment options.”
Continue reading at Roll Call
On October 26, 2012, Chip and I were delivered the shit sandwich of a lifetime.
This year on October 26, we are going to celebrate his life and raise a shit-ton of awareness and money for LUNGevity at the first annual Chip Kennett Memorial Golf Tournament, to prevent other families from enduring what we had to.
Details (PDF download)
Today is World Cancer Day, so we thought it was a good time to post this video:
The video was thoughtfully and beautifully put together by our friends at LUNGevity, from footage shot for their 2014 foundation video. We are so grateful to them for creating this for us!
Learn more about LUNGevity and their important work at http://lungevity.org.
Back in May 2014, the lovely and talented photographer Jennifer Hughes had taken some family photos for us. A few days later, she emailed me with the offer to come back to spend another day with our family – not to take formal pictures, but to document our real life instead. She wanted to be a fly on the wall and capture our day from start to finish.
Chip and I loved the idea, but I was a little bit like Reese Witherspoon in Wild. I mean, I was just supposed to roll out of bed circa 6:45/7:00 a.m. to unlock the front door for her while she patiently waited downstairs for the kids to stir and I didn’t need to coordinate, but not match, our clothes for the day?
Jennifer spent that fly-on-the-wall day with us in June, and how grateful we are to have these photos of our family. She has been kind enough to post them to her website. Thank you, Jennifer!
(If you’re viewing on a computer, use the bottom scrollbar.)
photo by jennifer hughes
It’s been a week since we gathered together to celebrate Chip’s life. A big, warm THANK YOU to all who were there with us in person and to those who joined us in spirit. Several requests have come in for the remembrances and homily delivered at the memorial service and for a copy of The After Party playlist, so here’s a recap of last Thursday:
Memorial Service Program (PDF)
Homily by The Rev. Oran E. Warder (PDF)
The After Party Playlist (Spotify)
The bad news: Spotify does not have in its collection a few very important songs: The Idea of You (Live)/Dave Matthews Band, Shake It Off /Taylor Swift and Callin’ Baton Rouge (Live)/Garth Brooks. So you’ll just have to listen to those on your own. But the rest of the music from the party can be found at the link above. I wanted to include Lie in Our Graves from DMB The Gorge if the party had only been 16:59 longer. If you have a Spotify account, you should be able to log in and listen; if you don’t, you can sign up for an account – it’s a free service (with the ads).
For some reason, The Washington Post/legacy.com copied and pasted the memorial contributions section twice. A very benevolent intern, perhaps?
Thank you all again. Now, as Crosby and Clete have directed us … NO REST. FLY!
We’re sharing another video today, this one a project of Robert X. Fogarty’s Dear World. The video was filmed on November 10, 2014. AstraZeneca sponsored a cancer survivor project with Robert, and LUNGevity recommended Chip after the video we did with them. We are forever grateful.