Kate Kaufling

The University of Kentucky community is in mourning following the passing of 20-year-old dance team member, Kate Kaufling, who lost her battle with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer.

Kate, a sophomore at the university and a nursing student, tragically succumbed to the disease on March 31, leaving behind a legacy of courage and resilience. Alongside her twin sister, Abbey, Kate joined the university's dance team in the fall of 2023, bringing her infectious smile and unwavering determination to every practice and performance.

Expressing their grief, UK dance team head coach Dawn Walters described Kate as a joy to coach, noting her ability to brighten any room with her presence. Dawn highlighted Kate's bravery throughout her battle with cancer, emphasizing the inspiration she provided to her teammates and the entire university community.

Sandy Bell, UK’s executive associate athletics director, also paid tribute to Kate's remarkable academic achievements, emphasizing her dedication to her studies within the College of Nursing. Describing Kate as beloved by all who knew her, Bell underscored the profound impact she had on those around her.

Osteosarcoma, the type of bone cancer Kate bravely fought, primarily affects teenagers and young adults, often manifesting in the legs or arms. Symptoms include bone or joint pain, swelling, and unexplained fractures, as detailed by Mayo Clinic.

Despite her private struggle, Kate rarely shared updates on her health journey on social media. However, on January 6, she marked the end of her chemotherapy treatment with a poignant post, reflecting on her journey and expressing gratitude for the support she received from loved ones.

In her heartfelt message, Kate acknowledged the challenges she faced, yet remained resilient in the face of adversity. She encouraged others to cherish every moment and appreciate the gift of today, echoing the sentiment that "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift."

Kate Kaufling is survived by her parents, Holly and Steve Kaufling, and her twin sister, Abbey. Her legacy as a talented dancer, dedicated student, and brave fighter will forever be cherished by the University of Kentucky community.