Sarcoma Story: Kevin O’Keefe

O'Keefe-Kevin-CarouselKevin O’Keefe is a husband, father, grandfather, friend, volunteer and a long-term synovial sarcoma survivor. He has chaired the Party in the Park for two years and has served as a volunteer for Rein in Sarcoma for six years. In his role as Chair person, Kevin has been able to assemble an incredible team of dedicated and talented team leads and volunteers.

As a volunteer, Kevin has brought dedication, warmth and charisma to our Foundation. Along with helping to lead successful Party in the Park events, Kevin actively serves on the Board, the Red Flags Committee, our annual Garage Sale and at numerous RIS events.

Kevin was uncertain as to when the cancer originally appeared as he had experienced cramping in his right thigh for many years. In 2000 Kevin experienced an excruciatingly painful leg injury at work. The muscle in his right thigh blew up, became purple and was very painful sending him to the hospital for blood clots and treatment. Within about six months doctors found what they thought was a calcium deposit on his right side. He visited four different doctors, visited physical therapist yet the lump continued to grow until he was finally referred to the Mayo Clinic in 2002.

After more Mayo tests he was told that he needed to see an oncologist. At his second Mayo visit, the oncologist ordered additional tests but thought there was a 90% chance that he had some type of sarcoma. Given the distance, Kevin opted to have a biopsy closer to home at the University of Minnesota (U of M). The biopsy at the U of M confirmed a diagnosis of synovial sarcoma.

Kevin’s cancer treatment at the U of M began with chemotherapy, then surgery followed by more chemotherapy and radiation. Following his initial treatment he had a long remission. Then about seven years ago a small tumor appeared on his right lung. He had that removed by Dr. Andreotti and has been in remission from sarcoma cancer ever since. Kevin has been very grateful to all his healthcare providers, especially Oncologist Dr. Keith Skubitz, Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Denis Clohisy, and Radiologist Dr. Katie Dusenbery.

O'Keefe-Kevin-FamilyKevin encourages people to attend Party in the Park so they can get to know people from our Foundation, connect with others affected by sarcoma, and experience a great family-fun night! According to Kevin, family, friends and belief in the Lord have gotten him through his cancer treatment. Furthermore, Kevin says sarcoma cancer has allowed him to “think of every day as a good day.” He says he appreciates every day he wakes up and gets to enjoy. Lately he’s especially been enjoying his first granddaughter, Nora.