We have all lost loved ones. Sometimes it's sudden. Sometimes it's simply from old age after living a long life. But, for one Texoma woman it was the first of 4 deaths caused by Cancer, that put her on a path to help others.
"It started when my first Aunt passed away from Cancer and I thought, I need to get involved," said Kathy Rodriguez.
That was close to 15 years ago for Kathy. That one death was enough to change Kathy, but it wasn't the end.
" I have 4 family members that have died from Cancer. My first aunt, both my aunts, my mom's sisters," said Kathy. " Very close to them. We're a big family, but, we're all really close."
For the past 14-years, Kathy has increased her role with the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. She's run the whole thing for 3 years. It's now become a passion, and something she believes in.
"Being involved in something like Relay for Life, and getting awareness out there, and finding of raising money to find a cure. I mean, that's the biggest way I can be involved and help," says Kathy.
Kathy's passion for the Relay for Life's fight against Cancer has rubbed off on others.
"I don't think she sleeps at all," said Relay volunteer Valerie Kocher. "She's just very going and she's very positive and she's just all about the community."
Valerie Kocher is one of many Relay for Life volunteers, who gets guidance from veteran volunteers like Kathy.
"She's one of the big motivational. She's my cheerleader to keep me involved in the committee and stuff like that," said Valerie.
Being involved for the past 14-years keeps Kathy inspired.
"Every year you think, okay, I've done it for some many years. But, it's different every year and, it touches you in a different way. You meet new people," said Kathy. "I meet closer friends that get touched by it. It's also, I guess, in a way inspiring other people to get involved. I've met people and they come out one year and they're fine. They're healthy. And then, the next year they have Cancer so it just inspires you more to keep on."
We wanted to know how Kathy finds the time to do Relay for Life, work, raise kids and do other volunteer work. We agreed it was all about time management.
"You don't have a lot of time during the day, but I think sometimes you just have to find a little bit of time through the year, or the day, or you find a week for the whole year or an hour. Whatever you can give," said Kathy. "Right now work gets busier. School starts again. But, I still try to find at least an hour or two a month to give back to Relay or something."
Kathy is involved with so much more than relay for life. She's a soccer coach for 3-4 year olds.
She is also involved in her children's schools and she works at Sheppard Air Force Base.
If you know someone who goes above and beyond in your community, nominate them for our Community Service Champion.
Just go back to the home page and fill out our simple nomination form. You can find it under our "Community" banner.