BERWICK, Maine — A nurse with stage three non-Hodgkins follicular lymphoma says her life came to a “screeching halt” after being diagnosed, but numerous people have been lifting her spirits.
Anita Kelloway, a resident of Berwick for seven years, said she suspected something was wrong with her health as she “put the symptoms together” last fall.
“In November the lymph nodes in my neck were completely swollen. By December they gave me the biopsy, but I already knew what the results would be,” she said on Friday.
Before the symptoms progressed before the biopsy, Kelloway thought the fatigue she felt was from multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 2002. But, she was wrong.
“If I had to pick a cancer, it would be this one. It’s slow growing and I’ve done so well with it. I’m thankful every day,” she said.
Anita, a usually private person, is mother to Colleen and William and wife to Berwick Police officer Bill Kelloway. Additionally, she is a nurse at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital and is getting her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner.
With a full plate, Kelloway admitted to not paying close attention to the master bedroom.
“My kids are my first priority, I just didn’t notice.”
However, after one of her treatments, she could barely leave the house.
“Then I started to notice how plain my room was. There are no pictures on the wall, and ugly white paint.”
A dear friend of Anita’s, Cindy Fessenden, came over to find her in a slump from the chemotherapy treatments and the fact she couldn’t be comfortable in her room.
Fessenden wanted her friend of seven years to have a retreat between treatments and she knew exactly how to do that.
Coincidently, Fessenden received a Christmas gift certificate from Jennifer Myers Interiors of Hampton; she then decided to re-gift the certificate to Anita for a wellness designed bedroom makeover.
Myers services usually consist of consulting, but in this situation Myers is getting everything for the project donated.
“Jennifer is so soothing. She lets me sit back and let everyone else take control. I admit that may be the hardest part though,” Kelloway said.
According to a public statement issued by Meyers, she will be focusing on a room design that lessens Anita’s stress by controlling the lighting, comfort, mood, and bringing in nature. She will accomplish this through space planning, accessorizing, painting, and more.
Additionally, Anita’s colleagues have been helping with medical costs, as one of them surprised her with a “pixie party” when she went to the hair salon for a pixie cut.
“I showed up and there were all these supporters there. It meant so much to be surrounded by all these people,” Anita said.
Donations are encouraged for the project. Gift cards from stores such as Homegoods, Target, Lowes and T.J. Maxx., are being asked my Meyers to help complete the room transformation. To donate to this project, or for more information, contact Jennifer Myers at email@example.com or Cindy Fessenden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Anita Kelloway, her story, and the fundraiser under way to help cover medical costs, go to http://www.giveforward.com/cancerwillnotdefineme.
Distributed by MCT Information Services