2017 Honoree - Shelby Conklin
We are thrilled to have Shelby Conklin as our 2017 SummeRun honoree! Shelby and her family have been huge supporters of the SummeRun for many years and are great friends of the Rivkin Center. We know Shelby’s story will inspire you as you participate in this year’s event!
In November 1997, Shelby thought she had fibroid tumors and had scheduled a hysterectomy. During the surgery, the doctor discovered it was ovarian cancer. Her family was told of the diagnosis while she was still in surgery, and Shelby got the news after she woke up from the anesthesia. Shelby’s doctor, Dr. Tom Wu in Olympia, told her about her diagnosis and said, “You can do this, just consider this a speed bump on your road of life.” Shelby believed him and took this advice to heart as she began her battle against the disease.
Shelby’s family was loving and supportive, and really helped her come to terms with her diagnosis. “I cannot tell you how much their love fortified me,” she says.
After recovering from surgery and meeting with doctors in Olympia, Shelby knew she wanted to be treated by an ovarian cancer specialist. She was referred to Dr. Michael Smith at Pacific Gynecology Specialists (PGS). Shelby had complete faith in him and his staff, and knew that they were experts in the field. They cared for her, answered all her questions, and encouraged her throughout her course of treatment. Shelby went through six rounds of chemotherapy and was clear for twelve years.
During that time, Dr. Smith retired and Dr. Dan Veljovich became Shelby’s new doctor. Like Dr. Smith, Dr. Veljovich became the perfect doctor for her. Shelby had a recurrence of ovarian cancer in 2009, but she had complete confidence in her team at PGS.
Shelby first heard of the SummeRun when she saw a flyer in the PGS office during her first round of treatment. She and her family registered and participated in the event for the first time. They raised money from friends and family and felt good about contributing to the research and treatment of ovarian cancer.
Soon, the Conklin family took their fundraising efforts to the next level. Shelby’s daughter, Krisy, had begun running a lot of 5K races, and as a result, the family came up with the idea of the Mother’s Day Dash, a 4 mile run/walk that would benefit the SummeRun and the Rivkin Center. With the help of her brother-in-law who had experience managing running events, Shelby and her family hosted the first Mother’s Day Dash in 2010 in their hometown of Shelton, WA.
The Dash continues to be run each Mother’s Day morning and is a time for people of all abilities to participate in raising money for ovarian cancer research. The event has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Rivkin Center. Shelby says that she and her family continue to do it with the goal of “offering hope for the eradication of this heinous disease, so that no other woman and their families have to go through it.”
Thank you Shelby and the whole Conklin family for being great partners in the fight against ovarian cancer. We are proud to have Shelby as our 2017 SummeRun honoree, 20 years after her original diagnosis.