Kate Takes Flight

Years after losing her leg to cancer at St. Jude, pre-med college student wins awards for gymnastics.

There’s something about the feeling of doing your skills on the bars right, where you feel the force of it pulling on you. It’s just a cool feeling to know that you are creating all this power. It’s like you’re flying. It’s amazing.

There aren’t enough hours in the day for Kate, a college junior, but she resolutely fits you in during a break from biochemistry homework. If tonight is a “good night” for this biology and philosophy major on the pre-med track, she’ll be all done studying and to bed by 1:30 a.m. But if it’s a “bad night,” a night with too much to do and not enough time, she might not turn in until 3:30 a.m.

You could ask a thousand questions and still not know how Kate does it now…

How she undertakes her daunting pre-med undergraduate coursework…

How she finds time for her side gig as manager of her collegiate women’s gymnastics varsity team…

How she competes on her collegiate club gymnastics team – claiming second place honors in the national women’s decathlon last year – and with a prosthetic leg…

Or how Kate did it then.

How she survived cancer twice and the loss of her leg. And didn’t let that stop her. And got back on the gymnastics mat.

Something having to do with strength of character and facing challenges head on…

Something about tenacity and pushing herself to perform at the highest level…

Something about the utter faith she could do it.

You can listen, and you can appreciate, and you can gain insight, but you cannot know.

That X-factor, that indefinable thing that makes Kate herself and no one else, it fascinates and draws you to her.

Now Kate, 21, has her sights set on medical school.

Without St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she might not be here. Here, as in: right here with her biochemistry homework spread before her. Here, as in: life saved.

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