As with any human, but especially with John Kelly, it's hard to fit a life into a page. His friend, mentee, and JCK Founder John Tessitore, made the film below a few months after John succumbed to his OCD in 2011. It's still the most vulnerable, hopeful and empowering way we know how to tell John Kelly's story. Watch a clip below or jump to the full version by clicking the logo.

That being said, John was a heck of a writer, and we never shy away from telling his story in any way we can. Besides a writer, friend and overall fun-magnet, John Kelly was an explorer. Sure, in the traditional sense of the word, he traveled throughout China, Italy, Costa Rica, Thailand, Singapore and Alaska. But as the selfless explorer, the one we modeled the JCK Foundation after, John Kelly spent his life searching for ways to help others alongside a decade-long effort to alleviate his own OCD and depression. After graduating from Colgate, he put his plans to be a therapist on hold to work for Invisible Children, the group behind the movement to stop warlord Joseph Kony from terrorizing Uganda.

The Foundation helped start a psychiatric outreach program in Uganda in honor of John's selfless nature.

John's work wasn't always so apparent though. The countless conversations he had with friends at the edge of the bleachers at a baseball game or when he came to deliver your chinese food were where John created the moments of magic that made him the one you wanted to celebrate with when times were good, and cry with when times got tough. Even with that warm smile and willing ear, we lost John. We lost him in spite of him scouring the internet for solutions. We lost him in spite of better than usual medical care. We lost him in spite of a loving family and a group of friends that would have done anything to keep him here. OCD took John, a brain disorder we still know very little about. But what we do know and what John Kelly knew, preached and lived was that the stigma surrounding mental health is stopping too many people from getting the help and hope they deserve.

The Banned Brothers of Wrestlemania

From an early age, John was always seeing the light in others. When 'playdates' were a thing, John was a bit of a trendsetter. Not only would he hang out with his “lunch table” crew, but he would constantly branch out to hang with other members of his class, ones that were typically overlooked. Maybe they were shy, maybe something larger was working against them. He’d befriend these classmates, helping them feel comfortable enough to come out of their own shells. I remember he would let 'banned' little brothers join in on Wrestlemania parties. Something we never had the privilege of until John invited us. His love for the underdog was tried and true.

7 Years Since

We love and miss you every day. Your warm heart and loving soul continue to inspire so many people on a daily basis. We miss you dearly but when we look around and see all the people you're affecting and helping it fills our hearts with joy. Your impact goes beyond this world and gets stronger every single day. We want to teach you about the John we all knew, and WHY so many people have rallied around him. He was the most genuine person I ever met. This episode is John’s story told by friends, family members, and acquaintances. We share their memories of him to show the world who John Kelly was and why his legacy will never die. John always said while he was alive that his goal was to end the stigma of OCD, you are doing that and so much more. People can now open up and not be afraid to be themselves because of you John. Your legacy is changing the world. Today, we honor John and we ask the listeners to sit back, relax, and enjoy learning about the legend that is John Cleaver Kelly.

Four Winds

John always pushed along, fighting the good fight and making people smile in the process. After graduating from Colgate, he worked at Four Winds hospital bringing his infectious spirit and positive outlook to those who were suffering the most. Many of the people he worked with had no idea he suffered himself. He was always cracking jokes and making people smile in the bleakest of situations. That was the kind of person John was, always putting others first, making sure they were feeling good while masking his own pain. In a world of numbers and statistics I wish there was a stat that read “number of times John Kelly made someone’s day”. The number would have been off the charts. People trusted him and would confide in him because they knew he would listen without judgement. It breaks our hearts to know that someone who eased the pain of so many others had to go through so much pain himself.

Responsibility OCD

He really cared about everyone he came across, almost to a fault. One of the hardest things about Responsibility OCD is that you feel responsible for something bad happening to someone you love or care about. It's a natural feeling triggered by irrational thoughts. His Responsibility OCD didn’t stop with just one’s he was closest with. John would always get triggered by natural disasters. For example, he would think he was the one responsible for a tsunami or earthquake in Japan when he was halfway around the world in New York. The worst part about this was he knew these thoughts were irrational, but he still couldn’t control them and they would cause him so much pain. He also would get so worried about harming his niece, immediate family, and close friends. Your biggest fear is harming someone you love. So as you can imagine, the pressure and anxiety associated with responsibility OCD overwhelmed John at times. It caused him to isolate himself to the point where we wouldn't hear from him for weeks. It never dawned on me that he was just a 'bad friend' for not answering but I could imagine how confusing it was for others, who don't have these intrusive thoughts, who just couldn't get in touch with John.

As with any human, but especially with John Kelly, it's hard to fit a life into a page. His friend, mentee, and JCK Founder John Tessitore, made the film below a few months after John succumbed to his OCD in 2011. It's still the most vulnerable, hopeful and empowering way we know how to tell John Kelly's story. Watch a clip below or jump to the full version by clicking the logo.

That being said, John was a heck of a writer, and we never shy away from telling his story in any way we can. Besides a writer, friend and overall fun-magnet, John Kelly was an explorer. Sure, in the traditional sense of the word, he traveled throughout China, Italy, Costa Rica, Thailand, Singapore and Alaska. But as the selfless explorer, the one we modeled the JCK Foundation after, John Kelly spent his life searching for ways to help others alongside a decade-long effort to alleviate his own OCD and depression. After graduating from Colgate, he put his plans to be a therapist on hold to work for Invisible Children, the group behind the movement to stop warlord Joseph Kony from terrorizing Uganda.

The Foundation helped start a psychiatric outreach program in Uganda in honor of John's selfless nature.

John's work wasn't always so apparent though. The countless conversations he had with friends at the edge of the bleachers at a baseball game or when he came to deliver your chinese food were where John created the moments of magic that made him the one you wanted to celebrate with when times were good, and cry with when times got tough. Even with that warm smile and willing ear, we lost John. We lost him in spite of him scouring the internet for solutions. We lost him in spite of better than usual medical care. We lost him in spite of a loving family and a group of friends that would have done anything to keep him here. OCD took John, a brain disorder we still know very little about. But what we do know and what John Kelly knew, preached and lived was that the stigma surrounding mental health is stopping too many people from getting the help and hope they deserve.