Kate inspired me from the start. She was confident and outspoken, qualities I didn’t share at the time.
I was so homesick the first few months of university, I could have easily never left my room, outside of lectures.
Kate brought me out of my shell and made me actively engage with university life. That’s something I’ll forever be grateful for.
It’s now been 18 years since that first day of university and our friendship is still strong. We try to catch up as often as possible, but of course life gets in the way.
To this day, although we may go months without talking and despite living 200 miles apart, whenever we do catch-up we feel like we spoke only yesterday.
On a normal evening four-years-ago I received the worst message I’ve ever been sent. It was Kate. Her six-year-old son, William, was in hospital on life support, following a terrible accident.
She kept apologising for telling me and the others in the group message all at once, but she wanted to make sure we were notified before we saw it on the news.
I can’t imagine being in that situation – having to tell your loved ones something so personal in such a rushed way because journalists are hounding you.
Heartbreakingly, two days later the worst thing happened and William passed away.
A few weeks later, I attended the funeral and life celebration of William. We’d been asked not to wear black. This was a celebration!
I wore bright turquoise clothes and body glitter on my cheeks and shoulders – William loved anything bright and sparkly!
You should have seen the church ceremony, a sea of rainbow colours, Hawaiian shirts and sparkles.
During the ceremony Kate and her now ex-husband gave a eulogy, telling the crowd funny stories about William and how much they would miss him. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
Throughout, you could tell that Kate’s heart was breaking all over again, but I was completely bowled over by how composed she was. How strong and resilient.
I remember sitting in a pew watching Kate and thinking:
How poised and composed she is despite hurting so much inside. I need to live up to the Kate of this moment.
That’s what I’ve tried to do ever since. Whenever life gets too much and I’m overwhelmed, I think of Kate at that time and it changes my perspective. It makes me feel stronger.
I am so proud of this courageous, inspiring woman. My beautiful friend, Kate.
-Dee Kennedy, Trust Fundraising Coordinator