“I watched her sleeping on the bed the other day and could not take my eyes off of her,” Leslie Gould Katich wrote of her daughter. “I admired her courage to face this even when I know she is frightened beyond words. I admired her beauty in the awfulness of this all."
Last night, I experienced a first in my short career as a journalist when I learned that Kristin Katich Sumbot, who I had the opportunity to interview and feature in a story early last year, passed away on Tuesday. Sumbot was 26 years old. . . .
I celebrated my 28th birthday on Monday and upon reading these words, it hit me that Sumbot, who is a year younger than I am, would never celebrate a 27th — and my heart began to hurt. I had the opportunity to interview Sumbot for a story that was published in April 2016 and in one brief conversation, Sumbot made an impression on me. She was fighting for her life with a grace that was difficult to comprehend. She was void of fear and instead was determined to live.
In her 26 years on this earth, Sumbot battled cancer twice. She scaled Mount Kailash (18,000 feet), part of the Himalayas. She devoted her time and attention to advocacy work for cancer research. She graduated from college. She got married. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy days before she was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of brain cancer.