Who Was Kate Kaufling? Gorgeous University of Kentucky Dancer Dies from Rare Form of Bone Cancer Aged 20 as Family Is Left Devastated

Kate was also affiliated with the Delta Delta Delta sorority and was working toward a nursing degree, as stated by UK Executive Associate Athletics Director Sandy Bell.

A "talented" University of Kentucky dancer died from bone cancer over the weekend, only months after she shared a heartfelt video celebrating the end of her chemotherapy treatment, according to school officials. Sophomore Kate Kaufling, aged 20, succumbed to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, on Sunday, UK Athletics announced.

The sophomore student from Louisville, Kentucky, was just 20 years old at the time of her passing. Kate is survived by her parents, Holly and Steve Kaufling, as well as her twin sister, Abbey Kaufling. Kate was a member of the UK Dance Team, along with her twin sister, Abbey, according to the department. The university is mourning her death.

Cancer Killed Her Despite Recovering

Kate Kaufling
Kate Kaufling X

Kate, who was studying in the College of Nursing, became a member of the dance team in the fall of 2023. "Kate was a joy to coach and to be around. Her smile could light up a room and she was beloved by all of her UKDT teammates," head coach Dawn Walters said.

"We are all saddened by Kate's passing. We will remember her for the tough battle she fought with osteosarcoma over the past year. She was brave until the very end and all of us can draw inspiration from the courageous battle that she fought." she added.

Kate Kaufling
Kate Kaufling Instagram

The UK Dance Team posted a collage of Kate wearing her team gear on Instagram, writing that "Heaven has gained a beautiful Angel."

Kate was also affiliated with the Delta Delta Delta sorority and was working toward a nursing degree, as stated by UK Executive Associate Athletics Director Sandy Bell.

"In addition to being a talented dancer, Kate was also an amazing student, in the College of Nursing, who took her academics very seriously," Bell said.

"Even during her cancer treatments, Kate kept up with her studies, setting an amazing example for her teammates. Kate was beloved by all who knew her and she will be deeply missed," she noted.

Failed Fight

Kaufling's tragic death comes just three months after she posted an emotional video announcing that her seven-month ordeal with chemotherapy has ended. "2023 was by far not the year I had in mind. My plans of returning to UK with my best friends to dance and start nursing school had made a sharp unexpected turn," she wrote of the devastating diagnosis.

Kate Kaufling
Kate Kaufling Instagram

"I had no choice but instead to spend the past 7 months undergoing an intense chemotherapy treatment full of many hospital stays. 7 months later I'm proud to say, 'it's over,'" Kaufling said of her fight with bone cancer, adding that the disease "did change ]her] outlook on life."

"Hold on to your loved ones as long as you can. Those hugs might be the only thing making them feel safe right now. Embrace your friends who treat you no differently because you're ill," the college student said.

Kate was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a particularly aggressive type of bone cancer that predominantly affects children, teenagers, and young adults, in June 2023. Following her diagnosis, a GoFundMe campaign was set up by family friend Tina Ladegast, which has since raised over $90,000.

A PET scan revealed that the cancer had spread to other areas of Kate's body, leaving her with no option but to start chemotherapy treatments, according to Ladegast.

Kate Kaufling
Kate Kaufling Facebook

Kate was also remembered and mourned by her sorority chapter, which shared a photo of the dancer performing on the football field during happier times.