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Jeff Keith Helps Others With Cancer

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 12.19.51 PMJeff Keith of Fairfield is empowering cancer survivors to live healthier, happier lives.

Keith knows all about what it is to strive for life. At the age of 12, he was diagnosed with cancer, two weeks later his leg was amputated. As an athlete already….and his family behind him…he pushed on, big time.

He went through 18 months of brutal rounds of chemotherapy, but it didn’t beat him. He went on to serve as his high school’s ski team captain and would then become the goalie for his Boston College lacrosse team.

He is a model for so many, becoming the first amputee to run across America which you can see here: http://bcove.me/glmv2o4w

Even though he is now 50-year-old, he remembers like yesterday those shocking moments as a youngster when he learned he had cancer.

“As we all know when cancer gets into your body, it speeds rapidly and with osteogenic carinoma, which is what I had, it would have spread to my lung had it continued to grow.  But, thankfully, that one injury brought it out and amputation followed on Christmas Eve of 1974, my right leg was amputated. I think I was not completely forewarned for many reasons. Doctors said they were going to remove a part of my leg, but never used the word amputation or said you’re going to have one leg for the rest of your life. I do remember it like yesterday, waking up in the room by myself with a nurse next to me. My parents were down the hall, and the first sight looking down at the end of my bed and seeing my  leg not there, obviously I was 12, I was in tears as anybody would be, and it was very frightening. It was not easy to comprehend because I just literally just wanted to jump out of bed and go back to my hockey practice. And back in the mid 70’s, that was dark ages of prosthetics, the general consensus across the country was amputees would sit at home or would not do sports and to me, that was not acceptable and I made a pact with myself in the hospital room two days later. They showed me a picture of Teddy Kennedy Jr. learning to ski on one leg, and that to me was the beacon of light, that I needed,” said Keith.

Keith has raised millions for cancer research and founded the Connecticut Challenge, Swim Across America and Swim Across the Sound.

For more information on Jeff Keith and ways to get involved with the Connecticut Challenge, go to their website at http://www.ctchallenge.org/ .