We have applauded my sister Kathy through an impressive assortment of milestones, including bride, birthday girl and Wisconsin Teacher of the Year. On Friday, we watched her pull on a purple T-shirt and step to the podium to acknowledge the achievement that gives us the most pride: survivor.
Asked to speak as the honorary survivor at the 2014 Menomonee Falls Relay for Life, Kathy stepped up and delivered a gracious and heartfelt thank you.
Though she’s had a grueling year, she mentioned none of the painful “ectomies” associated with her recovery from Her2neu positive breast cancer. Instead, she focused on all of the optimism surrounding her.
From its superintendent, a fellow breast cancer survivor, to its teachers and staff, to the sweet students who never mentioned hair loss or other telltale signs, Menomonee Falls High School has risen to the occasion of Mrs. Finley (née Kostelnik)’s brutal disease.
Our tears on Friday sprang from gratitude for the atmosphere of love and support Kathy enjoys at her home away from home.
Kathy also took the occasion to publicly thank one of her fiercest caregivers, her step-son Traveain, who walked with her every day, and called her “Kathryn” when he thought she wasn’t following her doctor’s instructions closely enough.
Kathy took her time as she made her way around the Menomonee Falls track; she had plenty of people to hug along the way, many high fives to return and a whole track full of fellow survivors who lifted their faces to the warm sun and enjoyed one of the most beautiful nights of the year.
She spoke less than five minutes, but Kathy’s survivor speech had a great impact. Enjoy…