Kaitlyn (Katie) Ridenour, age 13, fought a nine-month battle with small-cell ovarian cancer until Dec. 28. Katie was a life-long citizen of Martinez and loved to frequent many local businesses.
For the past several years, Katie loved going to CSRA Camperland in Martinez to look at all the new luxury motor homes while dreaming of owning one some day. Katie turned 13 on Dec. 14. On Dec. 17, Camperland owner Doc Allen generously provided the vehicles and Gary Mollo drove Katie and her friends around the area in a huge new motor home to see the Christmas lights. A second camper was set up in Katie's front yard so that she and her friends could also have a "sleepover" that night. This was her life's dream event: She was officially a teenager, and to top that off she experienced what it would be like to really own a motor home. They all had a great time, especially Katie!
Katie became a member of the local GYN Cancer Support Group during the summer. She was a child with an adult disease; however, they graciously welcomed her into their midst, and Katie bonded with them like glue. Tuscany Italian Day Spa in Evans and its owner, Leighann Keels, sponsored a day of free pampering in the fall for all the cancer support group members. Katie selected the yoga class and manicure/pedicure for herself. The "spa day" has become an annual event at Tuscany, and the time of personal luxury was better for the group members than any medicine. Katie loved the event!
Local restaurants, including Pizza Hut, Mi Rancho, Applebees and Rhinehart's all have wait staff who made sure Katie had the best service and food when she came in for her favorites of pizza, cheese dip, honey-grilled salmon and crab legs. She always looked forward to the days when she felt like going to these special eateries. They put a smile on her face!
Principal Felicia Dumas and the staff at Lakeside Middle School, where Katie was a seventh grader, made a special video of a pep rally segment. This was done specifically to cheer Katie on while she was in the hospital just following her diagnosis in March 2005. The students and staff sent posters and large cards numerous times during the year. A teacher for home-bound students came to the house whenever Katie felt well enough for a lesson or two. They never gave up on her; Katie loved them.
We would venture to say that every church in Columbia and surrounding counties had Katie on their prayer list. Our family continually got word about prayer teams that were meeting and offering prayers for Katie. Their prayers were answered. Katie became a teenager and had a wonderful Christmas before the Lord peacefully took her home to be with Jesus on Dec. 28. Katie is now healed in heaven. God is good all the time.
We doubt that any of the above-mentioned people thought much about what they were doing when they helped Katie. They served Katie in a way that was so special to her, but that is "daily routine" for them. The family wants the community's churches, businesses and Lakeside Middle School to know that they all made a difference - a big difference. The last months of Katie's life, and ours, was blessed because of them. Thank you, and God bless you.
Debra Allsup, Martinez
Edward Lee (Bud) Ridenour, Lincolnton
(Debra Allsup and Bud Ridenour are the parents of Katie Ridenour.)
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