by Jennifer Yarbrough
Raising awareness and funds to support appendix cancer research and ultimately finding a cure.
Kate was a wife. She was a pilot. She was a friend. She was a daughter. In the midst of a recurrence of a rare form of cancer, she said that “finding a cure for cancer is like finding one special grain of sand on the beach…the more help the better our chances.” In the midst of her battle, she called on others to help fight for cancer awareness and for a cure. Her husband, Greg Waidmann, carries that message on today as he, and other “Souls of the Beach,” continue to promote awareness and research through their non-profit.
Kate Schwikert Waidmann attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, played collegiate soccer, and pursued a career in aviation. Being a pilot was more than a profession to her, it was her passion.
In 2012, in her early 30s, Kate was diagnosed with appendix cancer that then spread to her abdomen, her colon, and right kidney. She underwent surgery and chemotherapy and then entered remission. Sadly, the cancer returned in 2014 and she passed away that year. Throughout it all, Kate maintained her positive attitude, her tenacity, and her love for family and others. While in the hospital she, along with her husband Greg, arranged to have stuffed animals delivered to children at a local hospital. They also decided to start a charity to help bring awareness to appendix cancer.
Souls of the Beach
When discussing the name of the charity, Kate insisted it have something to do with the beach because she and Greg were “beach people.” They lived close to the beach and spent many days playing beach volleyball and jogging, and many evenings strolling along the shore. She flew with her husband Greg to many destinations, but her favorites were always beaches. She especially loved Scotland Cay, Abaco, Bahamas.
Souls of the Beach raises funds through the online sale of positive, motivational t-shirts and decals at soulsofthebeach.com. They also participate in the “Color Me Kate” 5K started at Embry Riddle to support Kate and Souls of the Beach. Funds raised by the Non-Profit go to a Scholarship at Embry Riddle in her honor and to Dr. Paul Sugarbaker’s Foundation for Applied Research in Gastrointestinal Oncology (FARGO).Dr. Sugarbaker is a pioneer of heated chemotherapy used in the treatment of different gastrointestinal cancers, he was also Kate’s doctor.
Souls of the Beach is looking forward to holding a 5K fundraiser in the St. Johns area in the near future. Please visit their Facebook page, “Souls of the Beach,” to stay updated and get involved in raising awareness for and finding a cure for appendix and gastrointestinal cancers.
Greg would love to talk to anyone interested in joining the cause. He invites the public to stop by his shop, Fully Promoted (540 SR 13 N, Ste 105, Fruit Cove, FL 32259) to pick up a free window cling to raise awareness and visibility for the cause.
St. Johns Magazine