Kate's Team®

Thank you for visiting the Kate's Team® website! We are a nonprofit organization with a focus on raising funds and awareness for cancer research. We operate in memory of Kathleen "Kate" O'Shaughnessy, who was just one month shy of her 23rd birthday when she lost her battle with melanoma on December 13, 2000. Through this website, Kate's Team® provides mutual support and encouragement, and shares information regarding events and causes that are likewise dedicated to the fight against cancer.

Kate's Story

In the spring of 2000, Kate O'Shaughnessy was not your typical care-free university student. Not only was she fighting for top marks and the best internships, she was also fighting for her life.

Kate grew up in a small town in upstate New York before moving to Kingston, Ontario to begin her studies at Queen's University. A bright and motivated student, Kate excelled in her studies and enjoyed several extracurricular activities. She was passionate about the environment (making friends with trees at quite a young age), eager to help others, and always interested in living life to its fullest. She made friends easily and developed incredibly strong friendships during her time at Queen's. Physically fit, in general good health, and not a "sun-worshipper," we were all in disbelief at her melanoma diagnosis at only 21 years old.

The diagnosis came partway through her fourth year at Queen's. Kate was forced to endure several surgeries as well as multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation for the remainder of the school year. What is normally a trying time for any university student was amplified for Kate with the additional burden associated with fighting cancer - the long hours of travel to NYC, the painful and sickening treatments, the emotional and social difficulties of being a young adult with cancer - and yet, she stuck with it. With her family in the audience, Kate graduated in May 2000 with her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Biology and Psychology.

Kate never lost her fierce determination, which was evident at the Terry Fox Run – NYC in October of 2000. Suffering the side effects of chemotherapy, Kate was too weak to walk the course and was pushed in a wheelchair by our father. Toward the end of the course, with the finish line in view, she asked him to stop, climbed out of the wheelchair and, linked arm-in-arm with her team, boldly walked across the finish line. With a courageous smile, she promised to be back the next year and run the course. Despite her valiant fight, she lost her battle less than two months later on December 13, 2000, just one month shy of her 23rd birthday.

Her courage and passionate spirit have inspired so many people - many of whom never had the honor of meeting her in person - to get involved with Kate's Team.® Since 2001, we have raised over $300,000 for cancer research in Kate's memory - and we will continue raising funds, awareness, and hope until the dreaded "c-word" is just a horrible memory from the distant past.

kate hs


Kate's first email after she started treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering provides a window into her personality, a testament to her strength and thoughtful consideration of this tremendously difficult period of her life.

The Terry Fox Run

Every single cent of donations raised goes to cancer research in the Renier Brentjens Lab, which conducts highly innovative studies into new targeted gene therapies that are now being tested in patients with certain types of leukemia.

Terry Fox was 18 years old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer in his leg. After having his leg amputated below the knee, he convinced the Canadian Cancer Society to sponsor his "Marathon of Hope", in which he would run across Canada raising awareness and funds for cancer research. He made it over halfway across Canada , averaging 26 miles (42 km) a day, when he felt a sharp pain in his chest and was forced to stop. The cancer had spread to his lungs, and he lost his battle with cancer, just as Kate did, 1 month before his 23rd birthday.

We first participated in the Terry Fox Run - NYC in October of 2000; Kate was receiving treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and knowing the Canadian connection to Terry Fox made it a great fit for family and friends to support Kate in her battle. Kate's father pushed her in a wheelchair around the course, but with the finish line in sight, Kate summoned her strength and bravely walked across the finish line.

In the spirit of her courage and determination, we continue to participate and raise funds for the Terry Fox Run - NYC. 

To date, KATE'S TEAM has raised over $300,000, and we will keep going until the dreaded "c" word is a memory from the past.

Get Involved

While fundraising is critical, we highly value participation in the Terry Fox Run - NYC and other events that take place in support of KATE'S TEAM. We have met so many incredible people through these events, and are so grateful for all the friends and family who bring along others to connect with our story. Kate's dynamic personality and outgoing nature seems to keep shining through this amazing group of people called KATE'S TEAM.

Please connect with us, we love hearing from our KATE'S TEAMers!

There are many ways to be involved with KATE'S TEAM! These include:

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Kate's Team is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to raising cancer awareness and funds for cancer research.