A Best Friend's Memory Lives On

September 26, 2014

Keena Jones had many labels--daughter, sister, aunt best friend and cancer survivor just to name a few.

While Keena was thrilled to beat breast cancer in 2011, her triumph turned to worry years later when she learned the chemotherapy that had saved her life had also caused acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

Doctors said a bone marrow transplant was necessary, and thankfully her father, Fred, was a perfect donor match. He donated his own bone marrow to Keena on May 23, 2014. Sadly, although the bone marrow transplant was a success, the cumulative effect of all the treatment proved too much and she passed away a few months later.

Before Keena passed away, loved ones, including friends Stephanie and Charles Ray and Brittany Johnson, were planning a 5K in her honor to help her raise the funds she needed to afford her treatment, and they decided to continue on with the event to honor her memory and fighting spirit.

Stephanie and Keena became best friends in 7th grade, and their friendships remained as strong as ever throughout the years. In college, they met Charles while traveling to a Christmas conference in 1993. Little did they know that Charles and Stephanie would eventually marry! The group remained very close, and Charles even helped Keena get an interview at the company where worked together for 11 years.

Charles and Stephanie were honored to spearhead this event in Keena's memory, along with Brittany, who was instrumental in the 5K's planning and execution. They were all so touched by the generous outpouring of support that they plan to make this an annual event to keep her spirit alive.