J.Fire’s Market Bistro enjoyed one of its busiest nights last Wednesday, as many from the community dined on crab and shrimp and placed bids on silent auction items to benefit a Waterloo woman who has terminal breast cancer.
The generosity toward 49-year-old Kelley Metcalf was only fitting, since she has given her time and efforts to many worthy causes over the years.
“It’s an outpouring of love is what it is,” Metcalf’s husband, Terry, told this reporter last Wednesday night.
Ten percent of food sales from the all-you-could-eat crab and shrimp dinner went to the Metcalf family. And true to form, Kelley donated 25 percent of silent auction proceeds to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for the fight against cancer.
“People were very generous,” Kelley Metcalf said. “It’s humbling. Sometimes in life, you don’t realize how much you affect people.”
Kelley and her husband have lived in Waterloo for about 18 years. Together, they own Trinity Marketing Now, a promotional company for American made, eco-friendly products.
Through her church, she has participated in multiple mission trips. Kelley has also been involved as a mentor for PRISM, which is an extension of Boys and Girls Town of Missouri that assists abused young girls.
Metcalf had battled cancer before. She survived a non-invasive form of breast cancer nine years ago, which did not require chemotherapy.
Then, in September, a different type of cancer set in. This time, it was stage 4 terminal breast cancer that had spread to her pelvis, ribs and back.
The news was especially surprising given that Kelley has been extremely focused on nutrition for years and is a marathon runner.
The medical bills have been piling up, and the concern over changing health insurance costs is very real for the Metcalfs. For 18 months, Kelley took on part-time work at J.Fire’s as a waitress as a way to help pay her mounting medical bills.
Kelley’s sister, Michelle Sockow of Red Bud, worked with J.Fire’s owner Jennifer Kennedy to set up last Wednesday’s benefit at the restaurant.
Both were impressed with how well the event went.
“There were at least 150 people out to support Kelley on her journey,” Kennedy said. “I didn’t think the house could accommodate that many people. Miracles are happening every day!”
Sockow said Kelley did not want to take away from the restaurant’s regular Saturday crowd, so they organized it on a Wednesday.
“She’s been a blessing in the community,” Sockow said of her sister. “She’s always seeking ways to help others.”
For her part, Kelley is staying positive and trying to make “positive differences” every day.
“My biggest heartbreak is my son (12-year-old Ian),” she said. “But we’re going to focus on what we can do.
“I want to make sure my joy is not stolen each day.”