At age 23, most people are enjoying their youth and planning their future. So, too, was Kaity Kasper, when her life was turned upside down.
She found she had Hodgkin's lymphoma, a particularly virulent form of cancer. Brought up in Connecticut, Kasper had lived in Richmond for about six months and planned on attending the University of Richmond Law School.
"I had never liked doctors or hospitals but I was so glad I had moved here," she says. The reason was the Massey Cancer Center, where she was treated for a year with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. It was a grueling process but her disease went into remission.
Law school and a career followed for Kasper, who works as a lawyer in commercial litigation specializing in health care matters. It also was payback time. "I wanted to say thank you," she says.
So Kasper made helping Massey a second career. She helps organize the Massey Challenge race that takes in about $500,000 in donations each year, and serves as chair of its committee. She also works with the Boaz & Ruth foundation in Highland Park, which helps convicts get back into life after imprisonment.
"I think she's just awesome," says Lauren Kiger, a development official at Virginia Commonwealth University. She has it all together."
Otherwise, Kasper enjoys hiking and being with her family. She also plans to run next month's Richmond Marathon. Cancer was transformational, Kasper says: "When you are 23 and someone tells you that you might die, you get off the couch."