BRAvo dancer profile: Kelly Taylor and Dr. Joseph Kaiser

There was an instance-a solitary drive home-that really hit Kelly on an emotional level.
Kelly Taylor and Dr. Joseph Kaiser

On a long-scheduled family vacation to the Upper Peninsula, she had to leave five days early and drive home because she was scheduled to begin her radiation treatment the next day.

It was on that solo drive home that Kelly first felt her breast cancer diagnosis truly interfering with her life.

She said, "I had to leave my kids with my parents and I had to go. I cried the whole way home. I love my parents, but those are my kids on our vacation and I wanted to be with them."

Found during her annual mammogram and diagnosed on April 23, 2013, the same time Kelly was training as a mammography tech, her training and knowledge of the subject gave her a feeling that her biopsy results would come back positive. So she prepared herself for the news as much as she could.

"I had a feeling," she says. "It was shocking and a bit of a strange feeling because I was training as a tech at the same time."

She recalls a time during clinical training, still waiting for her results, when a female guest arrived wearing a pink scarf covering a bald head.

"I turned to another tech and just said that I have to leave," she said. "And I got the call the next day."

She had great support. Her husband and two daughters were there for her every step of the way, as were friends and extended family, who were at her door seemingly every day with what Kelly called "The Meal Train" and other care packages.

"They really rallied," she said.

Kelly's cancer was found in an early stage. She underwent two lumpectomies and would need radiation, but to her great relief she would avoid chemotherapy.

"I was told about not needing chemo the day before my birthday," she said. "That was a good early birthday present."

Kelly handled her treatments as well as she could have expected and has been in good health for four years and counting. And when the chance to support others experiencing breast cancer presented itself, the survivor with a performing background was quick to say yes.

The same can be said for her partner for the evening, Dr. Joseph Kaiser, a nephrologist with McLaren Macomb, who had been a performer for many years, starting in high school and throughout college.

And his favorite audience member was-and will forever remain-his mother.

When he first began singing and dancing in high school, his mother was so nervous for him, thinking he would "flop" and become embarrassed and heartbroken.

"And she would say, "˜then I heard this great voice come out, and that's my son,'" Dr. Kaiser said. "She loved to tell that story."

Sadly, his mother will not be able to see her son perform on stage at BRAvo 2017. A breast cancer survivor for more than 10 years, she passed last year from an unrelated cause.

"When I was asked to do this, I thought it would be a nice tribute to her," he said. "I just wish she was alive to see it. It's a little bitter sweet."

Not having performed in many years, Dr. Kaiser was surprised at how quickly his moves came back to him and has been looking forward to sharing the stage with Kelly.

"Feels good to perform again," he said. "With practice and the anticipation of the show, it's been really fun."

To learn more about cancer care at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Macomb, visit

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BRAvo 2017
Mammograms are The Girls' Best Friend

5 p.m., Tues., Oct. 17
New location! The Palazzo Grande in Shelby Township

To learn more about BRAvo or to reserve tickets to this year's event, visit

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