Kappa Epsilon Awards First-Ever Katie Ansell Award At Breast Cancer Awareness Lunch
Kappa Epsilon held its Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon on Sunday, Oct. 28, and presented the inaugural Katie Ansell Award to PY3 Mikaylin Beall.
Katie (Stutzman) Ansell, a member of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy Class of 2008, organized the first Kappa Epsilon Breast Cancer Awareness Luncheon in 2006 to honor her mother, who passed away from breast cancer. Tragically, Katie passed away after her own courageous battle with breast cancer in August of this year. She was set to be the speaker at this year's luncheon.
After her passing, members of Kappa Epsilon organized several small fundraisers and collected more than $3,500 for Katie's husband Jarrod and placed in an education fund for her three-year-old son, Josiah.
Experiential Education Coordinator Emily Lohr, along with Kappa Epsilon adviser and Professor of Pharmacology Dr. Paula Witt-Enderby, current Kappa Epsilon President Stephanie Franciscus, Kappa Epsilon Luncheon Chairs Antonietta Paneccasio and Kajal Patel, and Kappa Epsilon alumni put together a basket for the raffle in Katie's honor and had a plaque created commemorating the first-ever Katie Ansell Award to recognize a Kappa Epsilon sister who best exhibits Katie's spirit and strength.
More than 25 members of Katie's family attended the luncheon and the event had more than 200 attendees, the largest-ever turnout for the event. Dr. Witt-Enderby spoke after lunch, and shared many personal interactions with Katie while pictures of Katie displayed on the screen above the stage. Dr. Witt-Enderby read the description of the Katie Ansell Award, mentioning Katie's contagious smile and her role as a quiet leader among her peers during her time at the School of Pharmacy. Among the several nominations from Kappa Epsilon sisters, PY3 Mikaylin Beall was named the recipient of the award. Dr. Witt-Enderby cited her kindness, compassion, and reliability in addition to showing strength through the recent loss of a loved one, like Katie when she organized the luncheon 12 years ago. Wendy, Katie's sister, presented the award.
"The Katie Ansell Award was truly an amazing honor, and I am humbled to have been considered and presented with an award that connects me with such a beautiful person," Beall said. "Katie has left her mark on the Duquesne community with bringing Kappa Epsilon an event that would last for years to come, and I am honored to have been thought of as someone with such leadership, dedication, and dependability. I am so thankful for having friends like the ones I found through Kappa Epsilon that inspire me to be the best version of myself that I can be."
After the award presentation and speaker, it was time to give out over 40 raffle baskets. The basket made in honor of Katie was saved for last. After reading the winning number twice and waiting a few seconds for someone to claim it, who but Katie's son, Josiah, stood up with the winning ticket.
"It was such a sign that Katie was in that room yesterday, and it was a very emotional moment," Dr. Lohr said. "Her friends and family were all very appreciative that they could remember Katie at this luncheon, and while they are still processing her loss, it was a way to connect with her."
It was an incredible ending to a special event, and a beautiful moment from the collaboration of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy.
Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.