On Sunday, Kelly Connors will open her barre studio and teach three classes, but she won’t charge a dime.
Instead, she’s asking clients to make donations to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance in memory of her husband, David. David passed away seven months ago after battling colorectal cancer for more than six years. He was 39 years old.
David was a man who cherished his family, worked hard, and never made things about himself, Kelly says.
“A lot of people didn’t know he was sick,” she says. “He didn’t let cancer dictate his life. He did his best to keep living and make every second count.”
He took his 9-year-old daughter on Geocaching treasure hunt adventures and played soccer with his 6-year-old son. He went on more dates with his wife and together they enjoyed vacations in Mexico, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.
“We had an incredible marriage,” Kelly says. “Any time someone complimented him, he’d turn it to me, and say, well that’s because of Kelly. And if people complimented me, I’d say it’s because of him.”
Before each barre workout—a combination of ballet, yoga, and pilates—Kelly plans to talk briefly about her husband and encourage clients to advocate for their health and take the right preventive measures against colorectal cancer.
“I feel it’s my duty to spread awareness,” she says. “If I can save just one person from having to go through what I saw Dave go through, then I will feel that I’ve accomplished something great.”
What message will Kelly share?
“I just want people to be aware and not put things off,” she says. “If you think there is a problem, follow your gut. If you think something is wrong, but doctors aren’t telling you that, then you have to be your own advocate.”
Kelly’s studio, Pulse Barre Studio, in Mechanicsville, Virginia, is inextricably linked to David. Kelly says that while the studio was her dream, it was David who gave her the confidence to pursue it.
“He wanted something I could do in the event he passed, and something that I would love,” she said. “He had the confidence in me to see that I was able to do this, to live my dream of having my own business, and to support my own family. He had that foresight, and I will forever be grateful to him.”
Today, Kelly says business is thriving, and support from the community is unbelievable.
“People come together in my studio for a community feel,” she says. “And when David passed away, the amount of support people gave me was insane. I can’t even tell you.”
We have a feeling the people of Mechanicsville will meet that barre again tomorrow. To visit David’s Blue Hope Tribute page, click here.
In March, we observe National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Join us as we build our nation of passionate allies, fiercely determined to end this disease within our lifetime.