SARA ELIZABETH KENNEDY ============================
Sara Elizabeth Kennedy, daughter of Norma and Eddie Kennedy of Berea, Ky, was born December 13th 1986 at Pattie A. Clay Hospital in Richmond, KY. Throughout her life, Sara was active and involved in her school and community, always concerned about the needs and lives of others. She treasured the many friendships made in her short but powerful life. On March 23, 2005 Sara passed away at the Children's Hospital at the University of Kentucky. During her battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma, Sara faced each day with determination and dignity. Her laugh and smile continued to be a light in the lives of family and friends. Chad Mackey and very special friends Jessica Gowler, Bethany Bowling, Lisa Quinn and Jordan Twiss made each day of the struggle a little easier for Sara with their constant love and compassion. As a student, Sara participated in many activities. She was a member of the band, had been a varsity cheerleader, a majorette, a member of National Beta and Student Council, service organizations, and school clubs. Sara was an award-winning actress and during her illness, continued to help produce this year's school drama and television productions. In the Fall of 2004, the Berea Community High school student body elected Sara as their Homecoming Queen. Sara continued to influence the lives of those she met during the ten months of her illness. One of her nurses, Barbara Waldmann-Ward, said of Sara: "I like to think that Sara brought us not just a beautiful young lady but beauty and grace far deeper than physical appearance....I have never seen a teenage girl move and present herself with such dignity that it actually demanded our respect. She never, like her parents, showed us the hurt and the ugly side that cancer can turn a family into. ......Working with children with cancer, you build a wall around you to protect you from some of the hurt that comes with the caring of these young children and families, but Sara came to us and knocked it down without us even having a chance to put the first brick up." Dr. Joe Iocono when speaking of Sara, used these words..."her courage was palpable, her love contagious and her hope inspiring. Sara is a beacon of hope for all of us. Even though the disease won and took her from us, her memory still touches many of us. She reminds us of all that is good and all that is fragile. It takes an Angel to come in and remind us of life and hope and wonder in spite of a fatal disease. Her beauty transcended any chemo or radiation, any tube or incision or scar.......she was strong, courageous, full of life, and hope, and that smile." Sara's spirit, courage, hope and love of life that Dr. Iocono described, inspired friends, schools, churches, businesses and clubs to embrace the Kennedy family with an outpouring of love and support that continues to this day. In Sara's honor, The SaraCare Fund has been established as a way to make a difference in the lives of children and families who face similar situations. While a patient at the U.K. Children's Hospital, Sara expressed her desire that each room should have a Television/DVD/VCR Combo to make a better viewing experience for the children and families. Sara's parents are pleased to announce that in the first week of June, 2005 those TVs were installed in the West Wing fourth floor rooms. On May 20, 2005 Sara Kennedy graduated with her classmates at Berea Community High School, receiving her degree posthumously. She graduated with Highest Honors, and was inducted into the Student Hall of Fame, and the high school theater was named the KENNEDY THEATER. The SaraCare Fund was awarded $500 from the Beth Fraley Scholarhip, an $800 financial gift from the Senior Class, and $500 from the Younger Women's Club. At the Graduation Ceremonies, three $1,000 Scholalrships were awarded by The SaraCare Fund in Sara's honor "recognizing her commitment to learning, dedication, loyalty, respect and love of people." One of Sara's favorite quotes says, "Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget." The SaraCare Fund will continue to keep alive the laugh, that smile, the legacy and memory of SARA ELIZABETH KENNEDY.
Sara and Chad after she was crowned Homecoming Queen. We all agreed she looked great in a tiara, even without a wig.