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Young dancer loses battle to rare cancer, leaving her twin sister heartbroken

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Rare cancer separates two young sisters. — University of Kentucky
Rare cancer separates two young sisters. — University of Kentucky

A 20-year-old dancer at the University of Kentucky passed away on Sunday, leaving her twin sister heartbroken.

Kate Kaufling succumbed to a rare bone cancer, osteosarcoma. Her passing came just months after she joyously announced the end of her chemotherapy treatment. She celebrated beating cancer.

Her twin sister, Abbey, also a dancer at the UK university, expressed her profound grief. “My heart is in pieces having to write this. My sweet Kate you were my person. you were my safe space in human form,” she wrote. “Kate and I spent every minute of our lives together. From going on Kate’s first date with her to sitting on the floor talking while she showered, we couldn’t be separated.”

“As I sit here today I ask myself how I am supposed to go on without my twin sister, maid of honor, and soulmate doing all the things with me but I will for you Kate,” she said.

Abbey is grappling with the unimaginable – a life without her twin, her confidante, her soulmate. “I promise to wake up everyday and live my life for you Kate,” she vowed. “As heartbroken as I am right now, I can say I have the best guardian angel in all of heaven.”

The UK Athletics community mourns the loss of Kate. UK Executive Associate Athletics Director Sandy Bell said, “Even during her cancer treatments, Kate kept up with her studies, setting an amazing example for her teammates. Kate was beloved by all who knew her and she will be deeply missed.”

Kate, who was pursuing a nursing degree, died just three months after she completed her months-long chemotherapy. 

“2023 was not the year I envisioned,” she wrote, reflecting on her unexpected diagnosis. 

“My plans to return to UK to dance and start nursing school took a drastic detour.”

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