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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Letter: Amazing support from Lansing community

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  • To the editor:
    On March 11 of this year, my wife, Kathy, died after a short hospice at home and a two-year fight against ovarian cancer. We moved here in 2001 to start a new job and life, with a 9-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Having lived here before, we knew the kind of community this was, and that we would gladly raise our kids here.
    Over the years, Kathy worked as a substitute teacher in the Lansing School District, and her students remember her as the best sub they ever had. We involved ourselves in school and community things, among them the PTA, Site Council, Booster Club, Lansing Parks and Rec sports, bond campaigns, Westside Family Church, and other activities. Kathy made it her mission to meet and greet new neighbors who bought homes in our neighborhood with a smile and brownies.
    We made this town our home, and only recently realized how much this town and its people accepted us as one of their own.
    Kathy was diagnosed in May 2012, with stage 3B ovarian cancer. The doctors told us there is no cure, there is only a chance to give the patient time. As we told our friends about this shocking news, not only did they mobilize, but the community sprang to action with meals, encouragement of all kinds, and love for Kathy and our family.
    We were humbled, and thankful for the many people who showed up in our lives during those dark days.
    Kathy experienced the tease of a short remission after her initial chemo post-surgery, but in January 2013 the cancer was back. Over the last year, as the various chemos failed to provide more relief, Kathy became weaker, thinner, and less able to live as the Kathy we all knew and loved.
    People did not stop praying for her, sending her cards and texts, calling her, hugging her, and making her feel as if she was the most important person they knew. This did so much for her morale and gave her the courage to keep fighting through the hair loss, nausea, weakness, and many other side effects of the chemo drugs.
    Kathy was her old self throughout Christmas, making treats and goodies for neighbors, loving on our friends’ kids, and making it a great Christmas for our own family. She worked so hard, and it was one of our best Christmases ever.
    In January, the effects of a year with no real chemo impact began to show. Kathy lost her ability to eat, and her strength, and ultimately her life to one of the ugliest diseases known to man.
    And in the end, the community was still there. As our situation became really bad, and Kathy had to enter hospice, again the community came forward with massive encouragement and support, meals, and offers of help of every kind. A candlelight vigil was organized and 50 people visited our home, sang “Amazing Grace,” and brought a smile to Kathy’s face. One hundred people turned out for a short notice party at Luigi’s in Kathy’s honor. And 30 people were there for an in-home Sunday service and communion by our Westside Family Church pastor.
    Page 2 of 2 - The ladies of Bella Vita came to our home and treated her to a manicure and pedicure. Ladies from our church musical worship team came and sang praise songs to Kathy as she lay in her hospice bed in our home. Our lifegroup and many Bible study groups put Kathy at the top of their prayer lists. People texted, called, visited, and loved on Kathy and the rest of our family in a way we’ll never forget.
    It is so very humbling that Kathy made an impact on so many, and meant so much to so many people.
    Lansing is our home. Both our kids will have graduated from LHS, after spending most or all of their lives here. We were so happy to live here and be in a special place, and in the last two years found out how special this place really is. We wish to thank Lansing and our many friends for “showing up” for us in really tough times.
    Bernd, Lauren, and Collin Ingram

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