At the age or 21, Kennedy was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called "Ewing Sarcoma".
It was November 30, 2016 when Kennedy started having sharp pains in her lower right jaw from what we thought was an infection caused by the removal of her wisdom teeth earlier that year. She was quickly seen by her family dentist who instructed her to come in so that he could examine her pain. After a few x-rays, her dentist knew something was wrong and he immediately made calls for assistance. After calling Northwestern Memorial Hospital he was able to set up an emergency appointment for the next day with an oral surgeon.
The next morning Kennedy was immediately seen once she arrived to the hospital and it didn’t take long for the surgeon to figure out she would need surgery. On December 2nd, 2016 Kennedy underwent a surgery in which pieces of bone and tissue samples were removed from her jaw for testing. The surgeon was sure it was an infection from her previous surgery but sadly the results came back positive for Ewing Sarcoma Cancer.
On January 6th, 2017, Kennedy would undergo several rounds of chemotherapy which lasted a year, although she would receive the news of being cancer free as of April 7th, 2017.
During her journey, Kennedy would start her own non-profit organization, Project Kennedy, where she would raise money to help families that were battling cancer to help bring a smile. She also wrote a book, ‘Cancer picked the Wrong chick”, alongside her mother, Darnesha Evans, where she shared her story using photos from her journey. She would spend her time speaking at churches and schools, radio stations and television networks spreading her story to help bring awareness.
Kennedy went two years cancer free until October of 2019 when she was re-diagnosed with cancer in her left arm and her spine. The cancer not only returned but it came back with a vengeance. She transitioned on July 2nd, 2020 in her mother’s arms peacefully, but she left specific wishes regarding her organization.
Kennedy wanted to help families by bringing smiles, especially to children fighting cancer. She wanted this done by supplying blankets, gift cards for food and, groceries, coloring books and all sorts of snacks during their hospital stays.
Since transitioning, Project Kennedy has grown in Kennedy’s community and across the Chicago land area. Project Kennedy has held a 5K walk, Walking For A Friend, every year since 2020. We have formed partnerships with the American Red Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield and several nonprofit organizations through the Chicagoland area. Project Kennedy continues to encourage, build networks with hospitals and other non-profit organizations in order to bring joy to patients and their families. Our goal is to spread more smiles and bigger smiles every year.
Kennedy fought a good fight and will never be forgotten.
This picture book is dedicated to all the “Cancer Warriors” who conquered cancer and all who are still fighting the good fight. For those who are still fighting, we pray that our journey was and is an inspiration and can be used as a platform for you continue to push through. If there is nothing you can take from this book to encourage you, then please remember “GOD HAS THE LAST WORD” and this too shall pass. Stay strong and know that we love each and everyone of you that has been touched by this horrible disease. From Kennedy M. Parker and Family Our Pictures Tell Our Story.