When Ken Kavanaugh was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in May 2008, he was no stranger to the disease. He had already undergone multiple biopsies spanning a six-year period, and had even helped his wife of more than 40 years, Pat, battle breast cancer after receiving her diagnosis a few years earlier, as well as his father who had been diagnosed with lung cancer.
To fight his cancer, Ken elected to receive radiation treatments five days a week for eight and a half weeks. Not one to back down, Ken worked throughout his therapy, scheduling treatments for early in the morning so he could minimize his time away from work. While he maintained a positive attitude throughout his experience, Ken acknowledges he faced challenges. "My emotions were all over the place during the radiation treatments," said Ken. "I just wasn’t as patient as I normally am, and had to deal with some anger issues."
Always by his side, Pat, the couple’s two daughters, Julie and Rebecca, and grandson Aaron were loving sources of inspiration for Ken during his cancer journey. "Pat recognized what was going on and did little things to support me," said Ken. "I would come downstairs in the morning and sometimes there would be a card, just to cheer me up. She would let me ramble about how I felt, and would just listen." Today, both Ken and Pat’s cancers are in remission.
Ever the devoted husband, Ken chose to adorn his garden with pinkish matrix primrose pansies in honor of Pat, as well as other breast cancer survivors. He also selected matrix light blue and white pansies to decorate his garden, which he hopes will inspire those who visit it to persevere in the face of adversity. "There’s so much negativity in the world," explained Ken. "We all need to have more hope – more hope for the future, and more hope for ourselves."