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Buchanan woman completes Drumstick Dash despite lifelong health challenges

This is the first year Kelly Berry can run the race without help following her cancer diagnosis

ROANOKE, Va – The Roanoke Rescue Mission’s annual Drumstick Dash moved to a virtual race in 2020, but that didn’t stop one Buchanan woman from pursuing her dream.

Kelly Berry and her mother Teresa said Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without the Drumstick Dash.

“This is our 10th year doing it and I wouldn’t miss it for the world because I like to help the community and give back every chance I get,” Kelly Berry said.

When Kelly was born, she was told she would never be able to walk or talk. Nevertheless, she has been overcoming challenges every step of her life.

“Just the fact that she became a runner later in life was a miracle, but three years ago she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her left leg so she went through chemo and limb salvage surgery and more chemo and stuff she’s been told she could never run again,” Kelly’s Mother Teresa said.

In years past, Kelly has taken part in the Drumstick Dash in a wheelchair or using a cane, but this year is the first year she is running it without any help.

“It’s been an interesting year with the virtual races because a lot of people are missing important races; I know I do,” Kelly Berry said.

Teresa says she isn’t at all surprised her daughter has overcome every obstacle thrown her way.

“Kelly’s never known that she couldn’t do anything, so she wasn’t supposed to go to college and she’s done that with multiple degrees,” Teresa Berry said.

Kelly is thankful for her family, and wants to share a message with those who may follow in her footsteps.

“To all the ones that can’t make it home, ‘Happy Thanksgiving,’” Kelly Berry said.

There is still time to sign up and run the Drumstick Dash. Registration for the race closes on November 30.

About the Author:

Annie Schroeder joined the 10 News team as a reporter in June 2020 and is no stranger to Southwest Virginia.