Seeing the Kelly’s Comfort Zone lockers for the first time brought Jim and Juli Boeheim to tears.
The seven-foot tall carefully constructed lockers stand in both Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital and Crouse Hospital to honor the memory of long-time Syracuse University Basketball staffer Kelly Seubert.
The tears cried now are still in sorrow, but also joy because those closest to Seubert know her giving spirit is carrying on.
Seubert fought aggressive lung cancer up until last August. She was only 53 years old. The pain of losing her remains throughout Orange Nation.
“It’s difficult because we miss her, but she would love it,” Juli shared. “I’m really thrilled and I think it represents her and everything about her. To open that up and feel the love and the warmth. That’s what we want because that’s what she is.”
From the 2-3 zone to Kelly’s Comfort Zone — the lockers by Quinn Page Design contain the little things patients and their families might need at any time of any day.
The lockers include items like snacks, toiletries, blankets and iPads to help comfort cancer patients and their families.
“We are at or over capacity every single day here now,” said Jennifer Speicher, the administrator of Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. “It’s now longer a seasonal census issue for us and to know that families will have those amenities available to them because of the number of people that came forward in Kelly’s memory is just something that’s really special.”
Juli describes the logo how Seubert lived — “with her heart first.”
She says so many donations were made in Seubert’s memory to the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation and in small increments to total more than $25,000.
“It speaks volumes of her and it is all about her and how amazing her heart is,” Juli said.
Putting a locker at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital is meaningful for Seubert’s love of family and children.
Kelly’s Comfort Zone being in the Crouse Oncology Unit brings her legacy back to the place where nurses cared for her. Those same nurses know exactly what patients need.
Seubert’s cancer battle is a fight Coach Jim Boeheim says brought him to tears many times. His staff recognizing how bright Seubert’s spirit has always been long before they lost her.
Coaching staff often talks about “the light” in Seubert’s office, one that she often said was “too bright” to be over her desk.
“She had turned the light off over her because it was too bright, but that didn’t matter because the light was really coming from Kelly,” Jim shared. “When she was not there, there was something missing and I think everyone noticed it. She’ll always be missed. Always.”
Beyond the things inside each locker — Jim and Juli hope people realize they’re actually taking something special with them each time.
“I’ve never met anybody quite like her. She tried to help other people first. A lot of mothers do that. A lot of people, but Kelly did it with everybody. Not just with her children, she did it with everybody,” Jim said. “If we can all be like that…I don’t think we can quite be like that, but the more we can be like that. It would make Syracuse a better place.”
The JJBFoundation will continue to work with both hospitals to re-stock and change items in both lockers depending what patients need or request in both hospitals.
Everyone working on the tribute is convinced Kelly’s Comfort Zone will continue to touch lives the way Seubert always did.
“Kelly was an angel and we got her in our lives,” Juli shared. “An angel among us forever.”