Cancer never sleeps

Shellstrong Foundation’s Student Advisory Board holding one of many bake sales. Photo submitted.

Shellstrong Foundation’s Student Advisory Board holding one of many bake sales. Photo submitted.

— Last year, the foundation was able to present the center with$15,000 raised through events like Movie Night at the BHBL High School in September and Spirits for Strength held in February.

Away from hospitals and treatments, Jacob has attended camp at the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzurne. The ranch was co-founded by Charles Wood of Six Flags and actor Paul Newman, and its mission is “to provide specialized programs and year-round support for children and their families dealing with life-threatening illnesses.”

Kim Shell said Jacob “absolutely loves it” and will be attending the camp for a week again this year. The ranch can accommodate children of all needs.

“It’s a phenomenal place,” Kim Shell said of the ranch.

To say the Shell family is connected to the community would be an understatement. Both Matt and Kim are teachers in the BHBL School District, Matt in physical education and Kim in eighth-grade English. They’re part of the “family” of Burnt Hills, said Lauria.

“Burnt Hills is a different kind of community. It’s always been close knit and everybody is there to support one another. … The Shells have enlightened the community and helped us to realize the needs of sick children,” she said

“My two sons played for Coach Shell … he’s a great role model,”Lauria added.

“We hope to generate something positive and celebrate life,” said Kim Shell.

Jacob’s sister, Hannah, has been a “driving force” for the foundation, holding bake sales at High School Movie Night for example. When the community showed its support for the Shell family, 10-year-old Hannah was “in the middle of it” seeing what it was all about, according to her mother.

“She played as much a role as anyone. …I’m very proud of her, she’s very inspiring,” said Kim Shell.

Matt has been cancer-free for six years and he is considered cured, meaning his chance of getting cancer again is the same as anyone else's.

Jacob has been cancer-free for almost two years. He will be monitored closely for years to come, including having scans and tests done every six months.

“He is as active and energetic as any 1 year-old boy. He plays the drums, he loves to read, and he recently started Tae Kwon Do. He is an excellent student and treasurer of his class at Stevens Elementary in Burnt Hills,” Kim Shell said.

For more information on how to participate in the Be Strong Stroll or act as a sponsor, go to shellstrongfoundation.org, or contact Chrissie Ormsbee at 944-1258 or cormsbee@vzw.blackberry.net.

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