@Kate.Kaufling / Instagram

The University of Kentucky is mourning the death of one of their students, Kate Kaufling, after she passed away less than a year after being diagnosed with bone cancer. The 20-year-old dance team member was only 20. The university announced the news of Kaufling’s passing in a news release on Monday. According to the news, she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in June 2023. “Kate was a joy to coach and to be around. Her smile could light up a room and she was beloved by all of her UKDT teammates,” UK Dance Team head coach Dawn Walters said in a statement. “We are all saddened by Kate’s passing. We will remember her for the tough battle she fought with osteosarcoma over the past year. She was brave until the very end and all of us can draw inspiration from the courageous battle that she fought. Our thoughts, prayers and love are with the Kaufling family.” According to a GoFundMe fundraiser for her family, Kaufling was diagnosed with bone cancer on June 2, 2023, after detecting “a few lumps and swollen lymph nodes.”

“In addition to being a talented dancer, Kate was also an amazing student, in the College of Nursing, who took her academics very seriously,” Sandy Bell, UK executive associate athletics director, said in a statement. “Even during her cancer treatments, Kate kept up with her studies, setting an amazing example for her teammates. Kate was beloved by all who knew her and she will be deeply missed. On behalf of UK Athletics, we send our deepest sympathies to Holly, Steve, Abbey and the entire Kaufling family.” Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer, typically in children, teens and young adults.

Kate is survived by her parents, Holly and Steve Kaufling, and her twin sister, Abbey, who joined the dance team with her in September.

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