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Celebration of life for local nurse battling rare cancer

TUCSON – A local woman is sharing her battle with cancer in the hopes of motivating others to donate platelets.

“Five years ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia,” said Susan Kinkade. “I received a transplant from one of my brother’s who was a perfect match. I made it through that and had five great years.”

Kinkade is a fighter, but on that fifth year, she relapsed and received a second transplant from a 34-year-old stranger.

“She truly gave me the gift of a new life and gave me the gift of spending another 120 days being able to live and laugh and cry with my family,” she said.

A celebration of life was held for people to say their goodbyes to Susan, who is now in hospice.

“She has this magnetic force that she brings people together around a single cause and that cause is to get people to donate platelets,” said Courtney Slanaker, with the Southern Arizona Red Cross chapter.

“Even with low platelets, she was out skydiving,” said Dr. Ravi Krishnadasan, Susan’s physician. “She went and participated in activities that half of us wouldn’t do.”

“Susan Kinkade is larger than life, she is a pillar in this community,” said Brendan Lyons, with LOOK! Save a Life. “She is involved in a multitude of levels, 38 years as a nurse, a trauma safety advocate.”

Kinkade received the General Ronald L. Kurth award from Greater Tucson Leadership, she was heavily involved in distracted driving awareness and the founder of a nursing honor guard.

“When people ask what they can do for me when I was in the hospital, I said donate platelets,” said Susan. “There is a desperate need for platelets and blood… you can donate platelets every two weeks.”

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Priscilla Casper

Priscilla Casper is an anchor and multi-skilled journalist for News 4 Tucson. She anchors weekdays at noon and 5 p.m.

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