“I don’t talk about it because I don’t like to whine,” says Kitty, who suffers from hepatocelluar carcinoma, also known as liver cancer.
This rare liver disease, the same one that killed football player Walter Peyton and baseball legend Mickey Mantle, closes the ducts off to your liver and the only cure is a liver transplant. “In my case, my immune system is so shot they can’t do a transplant,” says Kitty. “But I don’t want people to feel sorry for me.”
Kitty stopped working as an accountant as she had done for years because her pain had become excruciating. So instead of going to a nine to five job she turned her efforts toward fundraising for non profits – particularly those that benefit women and children.
Kitty’s work is truly tireless and she has raised over 4 million dollars for non-profits in and around Boulder, won numerous awards for her efforts and changed the lives of many in the process.
“I really enjoy raising money, I have a passion for it, it’s easy for me and there’s a real need for it,” says Kitty. “Plus, I can do a lot of it on the phone and sit with my feet up. My non profits are flexible as far as my schedule and the work keeps me busy and not feeling sorry for myself.”
Kitty grew up in Orange County, California and came to Colorado when she took a job working at the solar energy research institute in Golden, where she also met her husband, Rob, one of the leading experts in the country on passive solar energy.
Kitty’s diagnosis keeps her focused on the present. “I could live until tomorrow or another ten years,” she says. “So I live each day as it comes.” She and Rob have some travel plans for the future, but Kitty also has some big non-profit plans. “I’d love to help facilitate a larger collaboration between the non profits of Boulder County. A lot of them just aren’t going to be able to exist in this current economy and I think I could be a real conduit to make this happen and I’d consider it a wonderful accomplishment.”
Which social event is your favorite? YWCA's Hall of Fame awards. We honor people in the community who stand for principles for women and children.
What are your volunteer activities? I’m the Director and Capital Campaign Chair for the YWCA of Boulder County; Past President, fundraising and event chair of HOF; Director, Chair of the Board, fundraising Chair and Event Chair for two years for The Women’s Wilderness Institute. I’m a trustee of the Boulder County Mental Health Foundation and the Women’s Foundation of Colorado, and the Peak to Peak Charter School Capital Campaign Chair. I’m a member of the Social Services Advisory Committee for Boulder County, the event Chair for Boulder Community Hospital Luncheon committee and the Auxiliary Board Vice President. Other involvements include the Chair of Order of the Baton for Peak Arts Association, and Community Foundation development committee member.
Who is the most interesting celebrity you ever met? Jane Fonda
What words would you use to describe yourself? Loyal, hardworking and energetic.
What was your first job? Scooping ice cream at Baskin Robbins and teaching swimming lessons.
If there were one thing you would change about yourself, what would it be? My love of shoes
What is your greatest indulgence? Shoes!
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband, Rob deKieffer.
Which talent would you most like to have? Artistic or creative talent
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Raising money for so many non profits
What is your most treasured possession? Our farm
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Whining
What is the quality you most like in a man? Sensitivity.
What is the quality you most like in a woman? Strength.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Things always work out for the best, even though we can't always see that it will. From my grandmother.
Favorite writer? Erma Bombeck.
Favorite quote: "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and could say, "I used everything you gave me.” -Erma Bombeck-