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Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 02:31 am

KIM HEPWORTH

Dec.28,1975 – Sept.7,2010

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I’m not sure if Kim Hepworth could shatter a glass with her voice. To be sure, she had one of the most powerful singing voices I’ve ever heard. But even if she couldn’t pull off the feat with her voice, I have no doubt she could break the glass with the sheer force of her will.

When Kim passed away at age 34 on Sept. 7, it ended her epic 18-month struggle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. While one could argue Kim’s ordeal didn’t increase cancer awareness, per se, it definitely put a very human face on the day-to-day battle cancer sufferers wage – particularly those afflicted at a relatively young age. And she continually left family and friends in awe at the strength in her fight and the courage in her heart.

What made so many saddened by her death was the sheer volume of those touched by her life. You see, from the moment she opened her mouth for her first onstage role in the central Illinois theater community, there was no ignoring Kim’s singular voice. At first, it was her singing that brought her attention. Then, as she grew from precocious child into a wiser woman, she turned her voice to guiding others, as she became a beloved director in children’s theater. And through it all, that voice, that will, was a clarion call all who would follow.

And so, when cancer picked a fight with Kim, it was no surprise that she did not go gently into that good night. Did she ever rage against the dying of the light. But it was always with a fierce smile, and a song.

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