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Running for my grandfather, a fallen Vietnam veteran

Kyle Wozniak, fourth from the left, and his

Kyle Wozniak, fourth from the left, and his family stand with a poster honoring his grandfather. Credit: Wozniak family

Do you ever wonder how you can support a special cause close to your heart? Well I do this every year by running in a race to support U.S. veterans. A veteran is a person who served in the military. My grandpa Dennis Kelly Sr. served in Vietnam from September 1965 to April 1966.

His rank was corporal and his job was to clear minefields. He drove a special truck that detected mines and blew them up. My grandpa passed away from a chemical called Agent Orange. Agent Orange would kill trees and plants in the forest to uncover enemy soldiers firing at them. From the exposure to Agent Orange, my grandpa then developed amyloidosis. It is an abnormal protein that is usually produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ. It builds up in your lungs and other organs.

My grandpa had been feeling sick for about six months before he was diagnosed on April 10, 2012, with multiple myeloma (a cancer of bones caused by amyloidosis). He passed away 13 days later at the age of 66. Every year my entire family runs the veterans race in honor of my grandpa Dennis Kelly Sr.


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