Sarcoma Story – Kevin O’Keefe

Kevin O'Keefe

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Type of Sarcoma: Synovial Sarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2002
Location: Thigh

Kevin O’Keefe was a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. He chaired the Party in the Park for two years and served as a volunteer for Rein in Sarcoma for six years. In his role as Chairperson, Kevin was able to assemble an incredible team of dedicated and talented team leads and volunteers.

As a volunteer, Kevin brought dedication, warmth and charisma to our RIS. Along with helping to lead successful Party in the Park events, Kevin actively served on the Board, the Red Flags Education Committee, 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 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. The biopsy confirmed a diagnosis of synovial sarcoma.

Kevin’s cancer treatment at UMN began with chemotherapy, then surgery, followed by more chemotherapy and radiation. Following his initial treatment, he had a long remission of about ten years, when a small tumor appeared on his right lung. Unfortunately, Kevin passed away on January 22, 2019.

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