Labradors are a favorite breed for a lot of reasons. Loyal, loveable and eager to please – they’re the perfect addition to the family - especially one in need of extra affection.
“Kelsey wanted a black lab puppy,” says Tammy Michelsen, “so she got him last August. We’ve nicknamed him ‘Moose’ because he is huge!” At 85 pounds, Tucker may be big, but he’s still just a puppy. The Michelsens are still teaching him the basics, but when he’s ready, he’ll be joining the family’s newly formed foundation as a therapy dog.
“We just really want to continue on with the spirit Kelsey had, keep her memory alive, honor God through all of this, and share Kelsey’s story and help other people,” Tammy says.
The “Team Kelsey Foundation” mission is simple – to support people touched by childhood cancer. “When people go through something like this,” Steve says shaking his head, “God forbid you go through it by yourself.”
Less than two years ago the Michelsen’s world was turned upside down when Kelsey was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Doctors said she’s never leave the hospital, but three months later she was celebrating homecoming with the Southeast Polk Rythmettes.
“What do you do when tragedy comes?” Steve asks, “You can curl up and go in a hole and say, ‘oh my God this is it’ or you fight it. And you fight it and you keep fighting and keep fighting. That was Kelsey.”
It’s just one of the lessons she taught the people around her.
“The pills, therapy, getting sick, she couldn’t use her left side, but she still had that million dollar smile and it was infectious. She never quit, she never gave up, she never complained.”
That attitude started spreading, first through Kelsey’s school, then the rest of the community and by the time she died last December, “Team Kelsey” shirts had started popping up all over Iowa - even all over the country!
“Even though in our situation the outcome wasn’t what we wanted – look at the lives she’s changed and things that are going on because of it.”
Teresa McNulty is proof. She and her husband started a golf tournament the day before their wedding eleven years ago. “As it started getting bigger every year we saw the opportunity to make it better and turn it into a charitable event,” she explains. This year, the tournament will help the “Team Kelsey Foundation”.
“We’re here for a resource and we want to help,” says Steve, “that’s the main thing.”
They’ll do it with loyal, loveable Tucker … and the lessons they’ve taught us all. “We always laugh every time he comes up the stairs,” Tammy says with a grin, “he doesn’t wag his tail, he wags his whole body – he is the dog version of Kelsey!”
The McNulty Masters Golf Tournament is this Saturday at 2:30pm at the Tournament Club of Iowa in Polk City. For information on registering and more information about getting involved with the “Team Kelsey Foundation” click here.