Truax was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2009 and then leukemia in the spring of 2011. It's been three and a half years of highs and lows, pain and exhaustion coupled with hope and optimism. Throughout all of it Truax has been stronger than I know I ever could be. While I'm sure she has her moments in private, she is nothing but her quirky, stubborn, compassionate, loving, always-wants-to-know-what's-going-on-with-you self. When I catch her on the phone we're not talking about her sickness; we're gossiping, getting updates on work and life and families, and at least pretending for a moment that there isn't a big fat pink cancer elephant in the room.
One thing about friends is that you typically never see them in their work environment. Kate is a teacher and one of the most touching things I've ever witnessed was the outpouring of love and support from her students. I visited her school once a few years back and even though she's relatively new to teaching, she's without a doubt a beloved member of their faculty. So it wasn't surprising when the local media picked up her story - this article and this clip from the local news station indicate just how great a teacher Truax really is.
From the moment Truax was diagnosed back in 2009, my perspective on life changed dramatically. The annoyances of daily life are put into perspective pretty quickly when someone close to you gets this kind of diagnosis. While I've certainly learned the obvious - to take nothing for granted and that things can change in the blink of an eye - I've also learned that we're all a little stronger than we think we are, whether that be as a patient, friend, parent, sibling or colleague.
Kate, I admire you for your strength, humility, courage and most importantly, for your bravery. I've never considered myself an "artist" before (I can't even write it without using quotes!) but there's no doubt that you helped me start seeing myself that way. I miss our long walks around DC/Boston, shopping excursions and late night sweaty dancing to cover bands. Luckily I'm positive that all of those activities will be part of our future as well. From your friends and family to your students, you have touched many many lives and I know you will have opportunities to do so down the road. On this Thanksgiving day, I'm so thankful for you and I love you dearly.
This picture of Truax was from her 28th birthday weekend in DC back in 2010. We spent the better part of the evening in the basement of a sweaty bar dancing to White Ford Bronco (Kate is a legitimate groupie) pretending we were still 20 years old on the dance floor at Sig Phi at Union College.
In true class of 2004 style I think Dave Matthews said it best: "I'll lean on you and you lean on me and we'll be okay."
Lots of love, woms xoxo