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Parade shows support for school teacher stricken with cancer

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – Dozens of cars lined a Fleming Island street Saturday to show support for a woman who has touched the lives of many before her life was threatened by metastatic cancer.

Kate Smith, 29, is an 11th-grade history teacher at Fleming Island High School. A process of vehicles carrying parents, students and teachers, from that school, along with first responders and others from the community paraded down Raggedy Point Road on Saturday morning to rally behind her.

“I taught at Fleming for a lot of years and I went to Fleming, and so when I was re-diagnosed, they organized this parade to show support,” Smith told News4Jax as she watched the procession. “It means a lot because this has been really hard.”

Smith was diagnosed with Stage III gastric cancer in June 2019.

“I had my stomach removed last October and then, just again, I found out last month, I have Stage IV metastatic gastric cancer,” she said.

Her greyhound, Bowie, and Smith’s family are always by her side.

“She is determined, smart, just very generous, caring -- always has been,” mother Donna Smith said.

Smith loves to teach and those around her said she’s very good at what she does. The lesson she is teaching now as she’s living it is the toughest of her life.

“Trying to find people who really care, to let go of the hard stuff and hard feelings and just surround yourself with people who you know, care about you,” Kate Smith said.

Smith’s family has started a GoFundMe account to help offset medical expenses and other costs that will arise with her treatment.

Kate Smith during one of her hospital visits.
Kate Smith during one of her hospital visits. (Family photo provided to WJXT)

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