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Kathy Amish's Story

By Peter and Lynn Amish

 

August 18, 1968 - March 29, 2016
Kathy was easy to fall in love with. She was so real and so easy to feel comfortable around, with no pretensions about her, and beautiful with an always-warm, comfortable smile. She was adopted as an infant and grew up with three other adopted siblings (one from Vietnam and two from the Philippines) plus four biological siblings. That she came into our lives still amazes us.


We will never forget the first time we met Kathy. She was well into her training as a nurse in Norfolk, VA, and David was going through advanced flight training at the Naval Air Station there when they found each other. It was late summer of 1997, and we were at my parent’s cottage on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario. We met Kathy at the parking apron of the Oswego County Airport as she climbed out of a single engine Cessna airplane our son had rented. David and Kathy were not yet engaged - that would happen in May of 1998 - but she was not at all intimidated by the mode of transportation or the baptism by fire that followed...meeting not only Lynn and myself but also my somewhat set-in-their-ways 80 + year old parents at the same time. That says a lot about the kind of person she was. Sure of herself and confident but at the same time, open and friendly - almost like we'd know each other for years.​

She became our first daughter-in law when she and David married in March of 1999, gave us our first grandchild, Abigail, born on Mother's Day 2002 in Austin, TX, followed by a grandson, Gavin, in 2004 while they were living fifteen minutes from our house in Minnesota. Over the four years they lived a few miles from us in Minnesota, we became very much a part of her life. Lynn was especially helpful as someone to call on whenever Kathy needed reassurance about something she was experiencing as a new mom. And having raised only boys, I was head-over-heels about Abby, a sweet girl whose early attempts at the word grandpa came out Bompa - a name I've carried with me through each of our next five grandchildren.

Kathy lived fifteen minutes from us until 2006 when David's job with the airlines took them to Texas. But even then, we visited regularly, often around birthdays, Thanksgiving, or Christmas. This picture of Kathy, David, Abby and Gavin was taken Christmas of 2009.

Diagnosis and Cancer Battle
In the six years and three months that followed, Kathy endured three major surgeries in her attempt to fight off the stage III ovarian cancer she'd been diagnosed with. She was always courageous and always trying to carry on life with her children and David with as little disruption as her condition would allow. She fought her battle with cancer hard and well.

Her daughter, now eighteen, is a grown woman and a freshman at the University of Oklahoma. Her son, sixteen, had his first summer job this year and is a junior at Laguna Beach High School in California. And David recently remarried, having found someone to share the rest of his life with - someone who we know pleases Kathy. We also know Kathy is pleased that we, in our own small way through our participation with Hope for Heather, are continuing her good fight against ovarian cancer each September with our teammates in KathysKrew2 with love and affection for Kathy, and joy in all we shared.

Kathy's Ovarian Cancer Journey: Her diagnosis with stage IIIC came shortly after she began to experience lower back pain and what was first diagnosed as a hernia. She went to MD Anderson in the third week of January, was evaluated, and underwent a radical hysterectomy that was followed by chemo. She remained with her ovarian cancer team there throughout all her surgical procedures and treatments until there was no longer any hope for recovery. We don't believe she was ever fully in remission, although she did have a few month-long periods of time over the first 3-4 years when she did not require regular chemo. She often took advantage of those periods for family trips, including one to England and Scotland. Kathy, being a nurse, was very proactive in seeking out second opinions and sought out other options in Boston and at Roswell Park. Unfortunately, she did not qualify any clinical research trials.

was very proactive seeking out second opinions and sought out other options in Boston and at Roswell Park. Unfortunately she did not qualify any clinical research trials.