‘The nicest thing;’ Woman battling breast cancer surprised with family trip, overwhelmed by kindness

CLAYTON — A woman battling breast cancer got a big surprise when she found out her family was going to Key West for free.

Andrea Brown was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer in August 2022, right ahead of a vacation her family had planned for September.

“I noticed changes and I am a nurse and I knew so I kept it to myself and we didn’t tell anyone. And that was so hard….it was so hard,” Brown told News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson.

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When Brown and her family were back home in Clayton she went to see her Doctor.

“I was due for my mammogram anyways so we went to the doctor and first thing the doctor said: this is cancer,” Brown said. “Still, a part of my brain was like no, it has to be something else it can’t be cancer.”

Brown went through Chemo and 33 rounds of Radiation.

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“It’s kind of overwhelming,” Brown said.

Three women understood what Brown went through because they too went through it. Mindy Villano, Liz Knecht, and Candace Kelly are all nurses who were diagnosed with breast cancer.

The three of them are a part of the Karen Wellington Foundation, a Cincinnati-based nonprofit that supports women with breast cancer.

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Kelly received a gift from the foundation three years ago and now she wants to give back.

“I think with cancer for these ladies, it’s not just the physical that you go through. It was a lot of psychological things that go through your mind that you experience and that’s very heavy,” Kelly said.

The Karen Wellington Foundation was started because of the struggles women with breast cancer go through.

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Knecht grew up with Karen Wellington before she died from cancer at 30 years old.

“She was sent on vacation by good friends and she said she wanted to do that after she beat cancer to send a family every year,” Knecht said. “She just thought that was the nicest thing so when she passed we started this foundation in her honor.”

Knecht told News Center 7′s Taylor Robertson that their gift of giving keeps going and going.

If you’d like to nominate someone you know to receive a gift from the Karen Wellington Foundation you can do so on this website.

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