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University Of Kentucky Dancer Kate Kaufling Loses Cancer Battle At 20

University of Kentucky dancer Kate Kaufling has passed away after battling a form of bone cancer, as announced by the athletics department. She was 20.

The college sophomore and dance team member was diagnosed with osteosarcoma last June, just weeks after noticing a few lumps and swollen lymph nodes, as stated on a GoFundMe page. She succumbed to the illness on Sunday.

“Besides being a talented dancer, Kate was also an exceptional student in the College of Nursing who took her academics very seriously,” remarked Sandy Bell, the university’s executive associate athletics director, in a departmental news release. “Even during her cancer treatments, Kate remained committed to her studies, setting an admirable example for her teammates.”

Head coach Dawn Walters expressed the team’s deep affection for Kaufling, describing her as someone whose smile could brighten any room, according to the news release.

“We are all saddened by Kate’s passing,” said Walters. “We will remember her for the courageous battle she fought with osteosarcoma over the past year. She remained brave until the very end, and her resilience can inspire us all.”

Kaufling had joined the dance team in the fall of 2023, alongside her twin sister Abbey, as noted in the news release.

Sports photographer Mont Dawson shared photos he had taken of Kaufling on Facebook, hoping they would provide her family “some peace and comfort, and serve as a reminder of the good times with our precious Kate Kaufling.”

“The drive, motivation, and balance she had for her extremely busy lifestyle absolutely fascinated me,” wrote Kaufling’s friend Sydney Lanham on Facebook last June, following her diagnosis. “Not a day would go by during the school year where Kate would slack or take off.”

During her battle, a private Facebook group titled “Kate’s Krew: Kate’s Fight Against Osteosarcoma” rallied support for Kaufling.

Funeral arrangements are pending as of Monday, according to UK Athletics. She is survived by her parents, Holly and Steve Kaufling.

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