An Arcadia couple is making it their mission to support and educate cancer patients so they can navigate their way back to a healthy life. Husband and wife cancer survivors Chuck and Hannah Keels recently established the Living Hope Cancer Foundation.
“In 2015, I was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer,” Chuck said, “and I was given three months to live. Because the cancer had spread to my bones, I ended up in the hospital with a broken back. After two surgeries, I had a spiritual event where I saw a vision of Jesus, and I started healing so fast that the doctors told me that my journey was not medical, it was miraculous.”
This journey inspired him to start helping other cancer patients. Last summer, his cousin, Heather, contacted him because her friend, Hannah, had not only battled stage 4 breast cancer, but she was also in the process of writing a book. Since Chuck had also written and published a book entitled Hi...I’m Chuck!, Heather thought he’d be the perfect mentor for Hannah.
“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 2016,” Hannah said. “Earlier that year, my husband of 21 years decided to leave me. That year, I endured a divorce, underwent a double mastectomy, and because I had four sons, I returned to work full-time.”
Her book, Faith Like Skin, was initially supposed to detail her trial with breast cancer, but it ended up being a story about how she overcame five significant stresses. In the space of two and a half years, Hannah moved across the country, weathered a divorce, mourned the death of her best friend and dealt with the loss of her nursing career due to her compromised immune system.
“I experienced loss upon loss,” Hannah said, “and my book describes how I grew in my faith as I handled these challenges.”
Shortly after Hannah and Chuck met, they fell in love. After marrying on January 1 of this year, the couple created the Living Hope Cancer Foundation.
“Working with cancer patients is deep in our hearts,” Chuck said, “and our stories are giving people hope and guidance. After everything we had gone through, we knew we needed to do this full-time, and the only way we could do it was to start a 501(c) nonprofit.”
With a driving passion, the Keels dug in with the same determination they had when writing their books and built a website full of valuable information like health and wellness tips, a support group and live chats that people can join.
“When you’re diagnosed with cancer,” Hannah said, “it’s one of the scariest times of your life. Often, there’s no one there to tell you everything is going to be okay and ‘you can fight this.’ We speak from our own experiences, and we spread hope and inspire people to live.”
“We do coaching and give inspirational talks around the country,” Chuck said. “From hospitals to cancer clinics to churches. We travel to wherever we’re needed.”
For more: livinghopecancerfoundation.com.