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Our hats off to Kay Kaiser

Kelsey Ruff, Social Media Manager

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Six and a half years is a long time to fight, especially for your life. Kay Kaiser, the guidance secretary at Pleasant Valley High School, has been through many peaks and valleys throughout her fight. But now it’s time for one final hat day in honor of this adored lady.

Pleasant Valley’s marching band created a special formation for Kay Kaiser during Friday’s practice on the football field.

Pleasant Valley celebrated scheduled hat days throughout the 2016-2017 school year in support of Kaiser. This past Friday, students and staff members wore hats in her honor one final time after her family announced she’d no longer be able to continue in her position at PV. Kaiser was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and has been in and out of chemotherapy, radiation, treatments and surgeries.  But, despite how hard she has fought and how much support she received, her family and friends have come to accept now as a time when her body just can’t take anymore. Still, Kaiser continues fighting everyday just to live and be with her family for as long as she can. Countless students loved seeing Kaiser with a smile on her face and determination in her eyes and marveled, daily, at how she never stopped working hard throughout a very difficult journey. In her role as the guidance department’s left hand lady, students say they’d never have even known she wasn’t feeling well. She continued to put on a strong face and to look at the positives everyday.

“Kay rose to the challenge and never let cancer define who she was or who she would be. She beat cancer every day by living,” shares her son-in-law and the teacher leadership coordinator for Pleasant Valley Schools, Kevin Pennekamp.

Her smile hasn’t left her as she has beaten the many odds stacked against her. Kaiser has been a part of the district for around 36 years, and has formed many close relationships with the students, families, and faculty. Linda Noble, a guidance counselor at Pleasant Valley High School, has built a close relationship with Kaiser over the past 19 years. Noble says, “While she is not my biological sister, we are like sisters. I would do anything for her and she would do the same for me.”

Kaiser has been described as courageous, loving and beautiful. She has worked hard everyday to be a devoted mother, grandmother, and friend. Kaiser and her family get through each day by focusing on “WIN,”or What’s Important Now. “She never let the cancer define her or control how she was going to live her life,” says Noble.

The strength, selflessness and caring nature that defines Kaiser are all traits those around her have come to admire. “She fought with the determination that allowed all of us to learn what it means to persevere against all odds and to do it with love and kindness to all who met her,” says Pennekamp.

Kaiser has inspired many throughout her journey through her perseverance, and by somehow always being able to put a smile on her face no matter the circumstances. She has inspired others to focus on the important things in life and to never take a day for granted.

“She has taught me how to refocus on the positives and what unconditional love looks like,” says Pennekamp.

Kaiser is loved by countless Pleasant Valley students, staff and faculty members, family and friends.  She will be remembered by many–and especially by the Pleasant Valley community. Thank you, Kay Kaiser, for your positive impact and endless love. You are a marvel and your unmatched Spartan pride will be felt in our halls for years to come.

15 Comments

15 Responses to “Our hats off to Kay Kaiser”

  1. Jodie Kavensky on September 18th, 2017 4:23 pm

    Hi Kay,

    I have always wanted to reach out to you on behalf of the NormaLeah Ovarian Cancer Initiative, headquartered in Rock Island, IL, but wasn’t sure how to do that. We provide support, resource and referral for ovarian cancer patients across the country and want you to know that we would be happy to help you in any way. Just give us a call at 309.794.0009.

    Keep fighting! We wish you well!

    [Reply]

  2. Jessica Rodgers on September 18th, 2017 4:36 pm

    I miss seeing you everyday hope you get better I graduated high school in 2014

    [Reply]

  3. Drew on September 18th, 2017 5:20 pm

    Kay was the staple in my experience. She was always there and always knew who I was. I work for a college and come for a visit every year ( tomorrow being that day this year) and on my first visit back to PV in 6 years she remembered me and everything about me. We hadn’t seen each other in that time. Tomorrow will be hard for me. To return to the office where just last year I saw Kay, fighting but smiling, missing it’s key piece.

    [Reply]

  4. Janet Hill on September 18th, 2017 5:37 pm

    Hi, Kay. Thank you for always being a strong supporter of the Bettendorf News when I was editor. I never had to worry that PVHS would miss a Student of the Week deadline! You always had the best interest of the kids at heart, and it showed in your commitment to the PV community. I always enjoyed our chats and appreciate how upbeat you are. Best wishes to you and your family.

    [Reply]

  5. Penny Lundeen on September 18th, 2017 7:31 pm

    You are a remarkable lady Kay! So is your daughter Kelly! I don’t think I have seen you since I retired from Walgreens 2 1/2 years ago but you look great and I admire your spunk. You and Kelly were always 2 of my faves!

    [Reply]

  6. Fran Ault on September 18th, 2017 7:51 pm

    Kay, they will miss you. You keep on fighting no matter what. Now is the time to concentrate on you. Fight for your life girl! Love you!

    [Reply]

  7. Sarah Budan on September 18th, 2017 8:24 pm

    Kay you were a tremendous help to me in getting our daughter enrolled at PVHS when we moved to Bettendorf this summer. You were so patient with my many questions. I quickly learned that every call I made and every email I sent would be answered thoroughly. Hang in there and keep fighting!

    [Reply]

  8. Tara Addelia on September 18th, 2017 11:26 pm

    Kay,
    Keep fighting the fight! I know you will be missed by many at PVHS. It’s been many years that we moved away, but I will never forget how much my boys really loved you. They thought you were the BOMB! Thank you for always being there to help them. You are a sweetheart. Enjoy your family. God Bless all of you.

    Tara Addelia

    [Reply]

  9. Jodie Kavensky on September 19th, 2017 7:58 pm

    Sometimes life is so unfair. I am so sad and by the loss of teal warrior Kay Kaiser. Our ovarian cancer and Quad City communities Will miss her. Here are the details about her funeral: Mass of Christian Burial will be 9 a.m. Saturday at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Bettendorf. Visitation will be 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Halligan-McCabe-DeVries Funeral Home, Davenport.

    [Reply]

  10. morgan parkhurst on September 28th, 2017 8:42 pm

    This was such a beautiful and heartwarming article! I was so thankful she was there for me when my grandma was battling cancer, don’t ever forget you are and will forever be loved!!

    [Reply]

  11. Xavior Rojas on September 28th, 2017 10:23 pm

    Kay,
    I know it’s too late to say because you never got to see or hear what I’m writing, but the first day I walked into the high school I remember being nervous about my first year. You gave me the most endearing smile I’d ever seen and told me that it wasn’t going to be as bad as I’d thought, that it’d be over before I even knew it was Friday. You were right, and I look back at how nervous I used to be and how I am now thinking that it really honestly wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought.

    I’ll never be able to thank you enough,
    Xavior Ruiz Rojas

    [Reply]

  12. Samantha on October 3rd, 2017 8:14 am

    Whenever I walk into the counseling office I expect to see her. I didn’t know her personally or very well but her absence is felt. I hope she lived a happy life, she will be missed

    [Reply]

  13. Kaylie M. on October 3rd, 2017 8:58 am

    I miss your optimism and you’re smile, at least the author of this article was able to capture your glow so everyone can remember you.

    [Reply]

  14. Catalina Rosales on October 12th, 2017 2:15 pm

    RIP Kay. I just wanted to pay my respects in a little comment here. We miss seeing your face everyday<3 I’ll remember you by-the woman that put up a fight!

    [Reply]

  15. Alex Soay on October 26th, 2017 10:04 am

    Terrifically written article you really did a good job capturing her personality.

    [Reply]

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Our hats off to Kay Kaiser