Actress Farrah Fawcett has revealed her fight against cancer on national television, in the hopes that it will help others facing a similar disease. She's not the first cancer patient willing to tell the world about her story.
Earlier this year, a young Chicago woman passed away from cervical cancer. But she left an account of her struggle that continues to live on the Internet. Clinical counselor Kindra McLennan, 29, began her blog just over a year ago.
"Let's start like this," she wrote. "I have CANCER, aka: The Plague!"
Later, as her condition worsened, Kindra posted pictures of herself in the hospital, smiling while she received chemotherapy, waving at a passing gurney. She used humor to dampen the increasingly dire news of her own cancer. Once she wondered why all patients had to wear blue gowns.
"Don't you think the experience would be more enjoyable if you were like: 'Wow, I'm in magenta today, maybe I will go with sea foam green tomorrow.'"
She was a natural caregiver who continued in that role even has her own care required stronger measures, her husband, Mark McLennan, said.
"The one thing that that can ravage you worse than any cancer is despair," he said. "She kept hope and a positive attitute. I think that helped her more than any medication or treatment she got. It helped the rest of us, too. The funny thing was, she was comforting all of us."
Kindra died at home on Jan. 2. Like all her other entries, her final one ended "Love, Hugs and Good Health. Kins.."
But her blog, kindramclennan.blogspot.com, continues to attract hundreds of messages. Some posters show pictures of themselves wearing T-shirts saying "I've been touched by a Kindra'd spirit." Others have begun telling stories of their own fight against cancer.
Kindra McLennon didn't want a funeral. She ordered up a party. So hundreds of people jammed into a North Side bar where she'd worked during college.
"Look at how many people she touched," said father in law Ken McLennan said at the time. "Hundreds and hundreds of people."