Dr. Marka Crittenden
Dr. Marka Crittenden
Laurie Kelley, chief philanthropy officer for Providence in Oregon, never guessed her husband would be diagnosed with cancer and be in need of intense care. Michael Kelley died in October 2020 after a 22-month battle with stage IV head and neck cancer. His family and friends are supporting further research at Providence Cancer Institute where he received care. The institute has announced the Michael Kelley Endowed Chair for Cancer Research.

Kelley, a successful attorney, father of four and grandfather of three, was a long-time supporter of non-profit organizations and Catholic high school education and sports. When he got his diagnosis on Christmas Eve 2018, the family turned to Providence Cancer Institute. His doctors suggested he participate in clinical trials searching for new treatments, specifically in immunotherapy.

The newly endowed chair in his name will guarantee new research that will push the boundaries in Providence’s focus on immunotherapy. The $2 million chair was funded by gifts of $1 million each from Mark and Kathy Parker, a community volunteer and the executive chairman and former president and CEO of Nike respectively, and from Darlene Shiley, president of The Shiley Foundation and a long-time patron of the arts, medical research and education.

Providence Cancer Institute’s Dr. Marka Crittenden, M.D., a member of Kelley’s care team, has been named the recipient of the new chair. The endowment will allow Dr. Crittenden and her team to hire additional scientists, conduct cancer research and provide new treatments for patients.

“There are moments you have with a patient when you have run out of options to offer them and it’s a horrible feeling,” said Dr. Crittenden. “Research motivates me: I’ve got to go back to the lab, I have to figure out a new option, I have to find something else that’s better that we can offer these patients. That’s what keeps me going. It’s very special to know the research I am doing to improve lives of cancer patients will be done in honor of Mike.”

Providence Cancer Institute currently has more than 400 active clinical trials in areas such as cancers of the breast, colon/rectum, prostate, lung, esophagus, liver and pancreas, head and neck, ovary, skin and blood. Other studies are investigating treatments for COVID-19.

Learn more ProvidenceFoundations.org/mikekelley