This post is not about running. Today I was given the task of finding out as much information about a student that graduated from our program. I was given a name only, I did not read the attached email (if I had it would have made things alot easier I think).
The students name was Laura Beck Kitchens. Immediatly I logged onto our database, searched for Beck...searched for Kitchens...nothing. I went to the back and searched all the hard files from the last five years...no go. A little concerned by this...I typed her name in google (surely she must be on google) and I got a crazy number of hits. In less than 3 minutes I found out, she lives in my town, she was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer in 2003, she went through her 8th round of chemo therapy at this time a year ago, she has a website called One Amazing Journey http://www.oneamazingjourney.com/ that she blogs about her journey with cancer and sells adorable long sleeve and short sleeve t-shirts on. I also found a large number of prayer requests at a number of churches her in starkville.
I went to her website and on the front page it read"One amazing journey. That's what the last several years have been. An incredible adventure of life, love, faith, and hope...with unexpected treasures at every turn. I was diagnosed with a rare kind of cancer in 2003. My story does not focus on the disease, but rather on the blessings - and adventures - it has brought. Through this website, I hope to share a few tales from the road, so to speak, and maybe in doing so, offer a little hope and light to others. " -laura (One Amazing Journey, http://www.oneamazingjourney.com/ ) I did not read many of the posts. There had not been many for the past while so I figured she had either won the battle, or had other things in her life that were going on.
Since the email came from our Academic Records Assistant, I figured that she had already checked the campus wide database. Still having yet to find the information I was looking for (when she graduated) I typed her name in online and hit the search button. I felt a stab of pain in my stomach, but looking back it was completely obvious. The Laura Kitchens was deceased. Confused I went back through the email thread and discovered that a professor had read her obituary in the paper and was curious when she graduated.
"I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people along the way that have touched my life and my heart immensely. I would never have encountered them otherwise. I’ve learned so much from so many of them, as they’ve shared their hearts and lives with my family and me. And I hope somewhere along the way we left a little joy or happiness with them as well. What true blessings God gives us in the most unexpected places. Yes, as strange as it sounds, I’m thankful for my cancer. Period – end of story. " (Laura Beck Kitchens)