Kimberly Maddox, the former Co-President of Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride, Inc., a retired detective for the Long Beach Police Department, and a once top-ranking basketball player has been diagnosed with Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. The LBLGP, Inc. will host a candlelight vigil in her honor at 7:00PM on Wednesday, December 17 at the LBLGP, Inc. office, located at 1017 Obispo Ave., Long Beach, CA. Everyone is welcome to show their support.
Maddox was inducted into Long Beach State's Hall of Fame for playing on their female basketball team, the 49ers, in 1989. She still ranks among the top four performers in all of the key career categories: points (1775), assist (461), field goals (779) and steals (219). She participated in the 1980 and 1984 Olympic trials; she played for the U.S. National Team during its 1978 tour of the Orient.
Maddox, a true leader with an always-positive outlook, retired from the police force on October 9, 2014 after more than 25 years of service as both a patrol officer and detective to assist her wife of six years, Angel Macias in taking care of her brother's two children. Macias resigned as Executive Director of the local non-profit California Families in focus to take care of her family, while Maddox moved there earlier this year.
Macias said, "She actually retired early so she could come help me with the kids because my brother was murdered. She always steps up to help others... We never ask anybody for anything. If there's a time that we would ask for anything, however, it would be now. Any help with mental, emotional, physical or financial support."
According to Macias, Maddox had come home from playing basketball on Friday, December 5, complaining about severe abdominal pain. Macias then rushed her to the emergency room where, during surgery, they found a grapefruit-sized tumor growing around her ovaries. The doctor confirmed that the tumor was Stage IIIC ovarian cancer.
The cancer had metastasized, spread to her colon, her abdomen and some of the veins that lead up to the small intestine, said Macias. "The doctors took out most of it without damaging her vital organs," she continued. "Right now her abdomen is still bloated and it's been worrying the doctors, but as soon as she starts feeling better she can start the chemo.
"She's trying to stay in good spirits, but when you feel terrible you just can't change the way you feel. We're still praying and staying hopeful, whatever it is that's going on we hope they find it and fix it. It's preventing her from fully healing. Hopefully the CT scan will reveal the cause of it and we can move forward. She just keeps telling me to be strong and stay positive. This is her 11th day in the hospital. The doctor doesn't anticipate her leaving anytime soon."
Through the candlelight prayer vigil, the LBLGP, Inc. and the Long Beach Police Department hope to unite the community, family and friends together to offer support in Maddox’s hour of need. Denise Newman, Co-President of LBLGP, Inc. said in an earlier statement, "Kim has given a lot to our community and we should show her support in her time of need as well. We want her to know that the City of Long Beach loves and cares for her."
Macias explained that Kim had been experiencing seemingly unalarming signs that she should have taken more seriously. Signs like cramping and minor discomfort easily passed off as indigestion. "She would complain about pain when going to the restroom, she would have abdominal pain, like cramping and burning," she said. "This has been happening for the past eight months. She just kept finding excuses not to go to the doctor."
About a year ago, Kim had all her blood work done, a mammogram was performed, they took a pap smear, yet nothing revealed what was really going on inside her body. The only thing that revealed what was actually happening was the CT scan, relayed Macias.
"If I could tell anybody anything," she said, "it would be don't ignore the signs and don't be afraid to ask your doctor for a CT scan. Given the fact that her family has a history of cancer, her father died of cancer, her sister died of cancer, her other sister just had a breast removed... People that have a history of cancer, they have to go more often than people that don't. Her message now is everybody go, keep your annual exams, don't be afraid to make your doctors appointments.
"She finds positive in everything that happens. People love her so much, they view her as the picture of health. How could this tall, strong, healthy woman be battling with cancer right now?"
Macias relayed that Maddox hopes people who find out about her story will begin to realize they have to get themselves checked out, even if they appear to be healthy.
"Don't let your appearance fool people, because you can look healthy, but inside you may be really really sick. She [Kim] exercises, she eats right, she was a police officer, so she had to stay fit. She's healthy, she eats right and she takes care of herself. Don't be fooled by health," Macias said.
Maddox is also a huge supporter and volunteer for Macias' non-profit organization, California Families in Focus.
"She doesn't want flowers," said Macias. "She wants people to make a donation to her favorite event, 'The Spirit of Christmas,' which is this Sunday. This is an event that her and I have been doing for 11 years. Of anything that we do together, this is her favorite because it benefits women and children who have suffered from domestic violence and abuse."
For more information about donating to California Families in Focus' "Spirit of Christmas" event, please contact Angel Macias at (562) 900-8686. Donations can also be mailed to California Families in Focus at 6475 E. Pacific Coast Highway #191, Long Beach, CA 90803.
Photos courtesy of the LBLGP, Inc., Angel Macias and Cindy Allen.