National Breast Cancer Coalition

Get On The Clock

The Kathy Van Hemert Fund

Photograph taken by and provided courtesy of Wendy Carlson

Photograph taken by and provided courtesy of Wendy Carlson

Total Number of Gifts: 22
Total Value of Gifts: $2,820.00

My Recent Donors

Mrs. Katherine Curtin Plunkert

Mrs. Marjorie Jayne Bellesiles

David Cohen

The Firehouse

Steven Cohen

Ms. Jeanne Paparazzo

Mr. Bob Strittmatter

Jim Radzewicz

Bruce and Janie Larson

Ms. Mary Hopkins Casden

Full Donor List Opens new window.Full Donor List

A celebration of Kathy

Kathryn Christie Van Hemert died on Friday, July 29, 2011 from the effects of metastatic breast cancer. She was 59.

She was sassy and irreverent. She was a clear-eyed problem solver and a ferocious protector of those in need of protection. She was multi-talented. And, she was funny.

Her life’s passion was her beloved greyhounds and the campaign to end dog racing. She and her husband, Don Van Hemert, rescued and nurtured many greyhounds over the years. Kathy was a well-loved and highly regarded member of the greyhound protection community.

Kathy was the daughter of the late John and Kathryn Edwards. She was born in Greenwich, CT. The family moved to Bridgewater, CT when Kathy was a child and Kathy lived there until she died, in the loving company of Don, her son, Sean Van Hemert of Sharon, CT and her six adoring dogs.

She taught special education and then ran a daycare center in her home for 10 years. Her day care alumni, now adults, were some of her most devoted visitors during her illness.

She worked as the bookkeeper for Church Street Trading Co., a clothing and home furnishings boutique in New Milford, CT. That store became known as The Firehouse in 1999 and Kathy became a co-owner. The Firehouse is now in New Preston, CT. Since her illness became known, there has been an outpouring of love and praise for Kathy and her dynamic spirit from customers, neighboring business owners and her many friends.

At The Firehouse, she created magic with her displays, often fashioned from miscellaneous merchandise into a cohesive, inviting story in the late evening hours, shushed her co-workers while she balanced the books to the penny (hence, her nickname “Penny”) and set a tone of acceptance, unpretentiousness and good humor. Kathy wouldn’t hesitate to scale a ladder, bale water from the basement, carry a backbreaking bookcase up a steep staircase and just assume that even the most physically timid among her co-workers would be toiling at her side.

She expressed her wish that those who would like to honor her life, make a donation to The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund.

About National Breast Cancer Coalition

The National Breast Cancer Coalition Fund (NBCC) is dedicated to ending breast cancer through the power of grassroots action and advocacy. NBCC increases funding for breast cancer research; monitors how those funds are spent; expands access to quality health care for all; and ensures that trained advocates influence all decision making that impacts breast cancer.

To learn more about NBCC's outstanding work, visit

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