Dustin Pedroia and the rest of the Boston Red Sox head into the MLB postseason as one of the hottest teams around. Win or lose, the star second baseman will have the support of wife Kelli and his wonderful family.
As is the case this time of year, the heroics taking place on the field will captivate viewers. However, the camera has been known to catch the loved ones in the stands who are no strangers to the stress provided by the playoffs.
One such person is Kelli Pedroia.
What many might not know is that Kelli is a fighter. As recounted on Boston.com, she was diagnosed with melanoma when she was 18 years old.
Since that time, she has worked to raise awareness of the dangers of tanning beds and salons and the potential of harm from tanning outdoors.
She wrote about her story for Melanoma Foundation New England's website, which is well worth the read. She recalled summers bathing in the sun and her first trip to the tanning salon, wanting to duplicate the bronzed look of her friends.
Sadly, her efforts delivered harrowing news in June 2002.
I learned quickly that melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. At the young age of 18 I was the youngest patient my doctor had ever seen with it. I was ushered off to oncologists, dermatologists and surgeons all for this little mole that I got from laying out in the sun. When it was over and done I had a chunk taken out of my right thigh the size of a large egg and lymph nodes taken out of my groin area to make sure that the cancer hadn’t spread. Trust me, those scars that are permanently on my body were not worth the self image I felt I needed to live up to with a tan. My results came back perfectly clear, all the cancer was gone.
The cancer would come back two years later, and skin had to be removed from her clavicle and neck. Thankfully, she is healthy these days and proclaims to be cancer-free.
That hasn't stopped her from not only raising awareness of her own personal plight but also championing other causes that afflict others.
Back in 2007, Pedroia and other MLB wives helped amyotrophic lateral sclerosis research by participating in the 25-mile bike ride, "Positive Spin for ALS."
More recently, she joined other Boston Red Sox wives in a fundraiser fashion show that aided the Red Sox Foundation, and she sat as a judge for the Big Sisters of Boston's annual "Running with Bridesmaids" event.
We hope she finds time amid a busy schedule to sit back and enjoy her husband's latest jaunt into the MLB postseason.
Red Sox nation will no doubt shower its boys with praise and applause, but we encourage you to throw a little Kelli's way while you are at it.