On Friday the 8th I went to happy hour with my friends. I haven’t seen my one friend for a many years. It was so nice to get together. As we were sitting there my one friend told me that her friend was singing at the relay; the same one I would be speaking at. We thought maybe she was singing at the opening. Well when I went to relay and stood in front of the stage I say this woman who looked like the woman that my friend had shown me a picture of. So I walked up on the stage and asked her if she knew my friend and sure enough this was the woman my friend said was singing at relay. She didn’t sing at the opening. She was singing just before my speech. She was amazing just like my friend told me she was.
As I sat on the stage listening to the song I had to work really hard not to fall apart. I started to shake. Scott held me and comforted me. I took some deep breaths. I took my place at the podium and started to speak. My speech went very well. The rain let loose right in the middle of my speech and I thought for sure that people would leave, but they stayed. I choked for a moment and Scott whispered in my ear, breath honey breath. I paused and took a breath and then I was able to go on. Scott and I walked hand in hand next to our friend Bruce who played the bag pipes and led the Luminary lap.
I’m sure I was able to do so well because of all the support I was given before hand. I was greeted by friends before I gave my speech with hugs and good wishes. Thank you everyone.
After the lap the man in charge of the sound system at the time came up to me and paid me a very nice compliment. He said, “I have heard many Luminary speeches but yours was the best by far. I felt I knew your daughter through the story you shared. And in her story she had so much strength and courage. She was an amazing young woman and such and inspiration.”
I also had a young lady come to me and thank me. She said Kathryn’s story gave her strength and courage to continue her battle. She said Kathryn and I have inspired her to live. I told her that Kathryn would want me to inspired people and now she needed to pass it on. Her tears were flowing down her cheeks but they were tears of relief and hope. She knew she would be ok after hearing Kathryn’s story. Her young husband was right there. He didn’t say much but he was very thankful and so happy to see his wife feeling so much better about her situation. You could see in his eyes that he loved her so much and he was worried but also thankful to see her renewed spirit.
Saturday morning my Mom stopped by to visit. Mom was on her way to a dance performance for my niece Julia. So she didn’t go to the relay with us for the Tom Mosich award. Richard and Bee showed up and finally Mitch and Lauren. We all headed out to the relay and met Tommy and Catherine there. Tommy is the son of Tom Mosich that this particular award was named after. We also were able to visit with Sue (Tommy’s Mom) and Tom’s Mother. Tom battled cancer for many years and yet he continued to support the relay even through his illness. He was one of the people Dr. Gordie Klatt called on to get relay started in the very beginning. His courage was amazing. Kathryn really looked up to Tom and she made him several luminary bags through out the years. Tom was one of her inspirations. Kathryn’s spirit was much like Tom’s and this is why she was honored with this award. Tommy presented to award to Richard. He was really cute as he talked about Kathryn. He presented a beautiful statue and a pair of running shoes to represent Tom’s love of running. He said he looked for running shoes with rainbows and unicorns but couldn’t find any. So, he then looked for bright pink shoes but there weren’t any in men’s sizes. But he did find some bright green shoes that he thinks Kathryn would approve. It was funny because that is just what Kathryn liked. Tommy knew her and knew her pretty well.
Scott and I shared in the acceptance speech. I have added it below. I did change it a little just before but the idea is still the same. As I spoke about the team C.A.K.E. Scott and Richard showed off the t-Shirts they were wearing which were from her team. She had designed them each year to fit the relay theme. Then when I spoke about the t-shirts she designed for her senior project Mitch, Lauren, Bee and I were each wearing one of the 5 different designs she had made. Matt, her boyfriend had come up on stage too so when I spoke about him I had him wave. I should have mentioned what a wonderful thing his Mom has done too but I forgot. I apologized for leaving her out. She has raised money and water products to donate to Camp Goodtimes. Water products like inner tubes and life vests. They have put in countless hours on this project. Next year they will work on getting water shoes for all of the campers. Fabulous family!
After we spent some time at relay we all went to our house. Most of us (Richard, Bee, Mitch, Lauren, Tommy, Catherine, Scott and Myself) and my Mom came a little later. We sat out in the back yard and talked and Scott brought out some snacks. Then we all worked on dinner. We sat in the dining room and ate off of our fine china. It doesn’t get used much. What a great evening. In the morning I spent some quality time with my Mom and then the kids all got up and I had time with them. It was a good weekend.
I know Kathryn was with us. I could smell that sweet smell. This smell seems to show up at particular times. I can almost tell you exactly when Kathryn will be there.
I hope you all were able to enjoy the sun today. It was here and it will soon be gone again.
Tom Mosich Spirit Award Speech 2012
Kathryn was diagnosed at 8 with a cancerous brain tumor. Shortly after she started to wage her own war on cancer. She attended the Relay for Life in Tacoma starting in 1999 by walking in the survivor lap. She also started making others aware by doing show and tell at school. She shared her scar, radiation mask, gas mask for being put to sleep and even part of her tumor. She explained how radiation and MRI’s never hurt you. She also let her friends know that cancer was not contagious. She had it but she could not give it to them. As she was going through her treatment she was asked to visit a scared newly diagnosed little girl who was in the hospital and about the same age. Of course she obliged. Kathryn gave her and her family hope and peace. Later they became good friends at Camp Goodtimes.
As she progressed through school she continued to do reports on cancer. Always sharing the latest information and statistics. She also continued to be involved with the oncology clinic parties. As she got older she was always willing to lend a helping hand with the oncology parties
She also took part in the Pediatric Brain Tumor foundation “Ride for Kids.” She spoke many times at this events as all of the kids are interviewed. This last year 2011 she didn’t attend. She told me they would be happy to know that she was at college being a Normal College student doing well and having fun. As I spoke to the group they were happy to hear that Kathryn was well and enjoying college.
From 2000-2004 she was a member of the Mary Bridge Relay team. In 2005 she joined a friend’s team in support of her friend and family. In 2006 through 2009 she captained the team C.A.K.E. cids against kancer everywhere. She gathered her friends to have them join the fight against cancer. Her team raised over $10,000 in one year and won an award that year. They had a huge dinner auction to do this. Also during her time in high school and college she wrote several essays about life, cancer and herself. Always writing about living, happiness, hope and encouraging others. She did an internship at the hospital to help prepare her for her future career. She wanted to become a child life specialist in the oncology department. She wanted to be the one the children would remember as having fun with. She wanted to share give them happiness through their treatments. Her senior project was based on fighting cancer as well. She designed, created and sold cancer themed t-shirts. All of the proceeds went to the Tacoma Relay.
She decided to attend Western Washington University and Tommy Mosich asked her if she would like to be on the relay committee. You would have thought she won the lottery. She was so excited. I remember her saying, “Mom, I was asked to be on the relay committee – as a Freshman.” She just couldn’t believe as a Freshman she would be asked to be on the committee. She was on the committee for 2010, 2011 and 2012. Unfortunately she didn’t live to finish out the 2012 relay season. She also served on WSAC which stands for Western Students Against Cancer.
Kathryn and I were also honored to work for Unique Beverage to support cancer related events. We were the x-passion team that donated Wired, Cascade Ice and cash to cancer related events. We worked with approximated 140 different events each year. We did this from 2006 to then end of 2011.
Kathryn started to attend Camp Goodtimes in 2001. She has never missed a year since. She went from camper to a Leader in Training 2008 and took the mandatory year off in 2009. However she was at camp that year a couple of times. She just couldn’t stay away. The next two years she volunteered as a staff member at both sessions each year. She said, “Camp is my favorite place on Earth.” “Panda “was her camp name short for pandemonium. She encouraged others to volunteer at camp. New volunteers due to Panda are: Tobogan, Boots, Glitter, her loving boyfriend Kodiak and her Oncologist Dr. Tofu. The little girl she visited in the hospital back in 1999 also became a volunteer Zebra. She brought love and laughter to camp in the most sincere way. She had the spirit to light up anyone’s day. She wrote: “I have found that life is too short not to live it hand in hand with happiness. Every situation can be looked at as “glass half full” instead of “glass half empty”. This is what I do so that I can live my life cheerfully and worry free.”
This last summer 2011 she was at camp talking with Ziggy. Ziggy recently sent us a letter and in it she said: “Last summer there was one night at dinner that Kathryn mentioned something about treatment. That made me ask if she had relapsed. She filled me in on what had happened but said she wasn’t concerned. She said, whatever happens would go ahead and happen and she was only focusing on giving all the kids their best summer ever. And she did!”
Her dream was to become a childlife specialist in the oncology department. She wrote: I want to be able to blossom joy from cancer and I figure what better way to do it than through my work. I believe everything happens for a reason, even the incredibly upsetting occurrences. No one can explain why cancer happens to the people it does, but we all must learn to see past the negatives. Cancer has blessed me with open eyes and a heart full of love to share.
In April of 2010 she was diagnosed with a Glioblastoma stage 4 (brain tumor) and in October of 2011 it came back. Instead of giving up or becoming depressed when she was given 3 to 6 months to live she planned a Huge Christmas Party as a send off party. February 2nd 2012 she passed away quietly in her bedroom with her family by her side. Her spirit will always live on especially at Camp Goodtimes and In Relay.
We are very honored to accept this award for Kathryn. Tom Mosich was an inspiration to Kathryn. She made many luminaria bags for Tom through out the years. She looked up to him and his efforts to fight cancer. Kathryn would have been beaming with pride on this day if she were here. Getting an award in that was created for a man that she admired so much would mean the world to her. We are extremely proud of her and very thankful to have had Kathryn in our lives.
Thank you so much for this great honor.