“Gratitude is Gold” & Lessons Learned from Mothers

Kathy Frederick, Founder of Row for the Cure, was coincidentally staffing a RFTC table at a USRowing convention in Florida when she discovered that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. No stranger to giving to support to women in need when experiencing this life-changing diagnosis, Kathy got right to work.

“I knew she was being tested back home and was very happy to receive the word that she would only need a lumpectomy and probably no further treatment,” said Frederick. “Five years before this, my twin, Mary, went through pretty heavy treatment for skin cancer, so our three-person team was already active.  

As their mother continued to age, the trio continued to give one another support; whether it be financial, medical, or spiritual. The family proved that a support system during tough times is the best type of medicine.

I am an identical twin and the oldest by six minutes.  My twin and I were always a team, but mom encouraged us to pursue individual interests rather than compete against each other.  As a result, we often supported each other in competitions as adults. Mary became a middle school teacher and a competitive dancer while I learned to row and compete there.  My mother often came to local regattas to cheer me on.”

That spirit of ingenuity was further nurtured as Kathy pursued RFTC, with her mother always in her corner.

“My mom always loved events and parties, so when I told her Row for the Cure was going to go national, I knew she would be on MY TEAM.”

“Early on, I was at a meeting with Susan G. Komen National and their other national partners and saw that our organization was unlike any of their other Corporate Partners.  Feeling very much overwhelmed, I called my mom back in Oregon and got the pep talk of my life. She was right there when I needed her most. My mom volunteered at every Portland Row for the Cure for 20 years. “

Though her mother passed in August of 2014, her memory still lives with Kathy in her words: “Gratitude is gold.”

“I think of her and talk to her every day.  I will often catch a phrase, gesture or tone of my own voice that is hers.”


Written by RFTC Brand Ambassador Sarah Marshall