Kimberly was a bold and vivacious bellydancer and a pillar of the DC area bellydance and Burning Man communities. She was known and loved by many for her ability to organize people and for her insatiable love of life.
In mid-2006 at the age of 31 she checked into an emergency room with harsh abdominal pains, and was eventually diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Some very capable and sympathetic doctors informed her back then that she would never bellydance again...but she went on to not only recover her strength and technique, but also deliver riveting, powerful and beautiful performances in venues ranging from the Black Rock City Opulent Temple to the Virgin Festival, firedancing in front of Smashing Pumpkins and the Police.
While a performing bellydancer/firedancer with major visible surgical scars and medical ports (and, often no hair on her head) was certainly out of the ordinary, after a minute or two watching her in motion, many audience members were often heard to whisper, "She's beautiful!" to their companions, as if they'd stumbled upon a sunset blazing in a dark alley. All who knew her work saw her passion for dance blaze even higher, while the emotional intensity of her daily struggle was poured directly into her performances.
As the ravages of the disease brutally punished her body, eventually she became unable to dance...and so the communities she so loved danced for her, holding benefit performances throughout 2008 in San Francisco, DC, Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, and even Mexico City to help raise funds to help her manage the mountain of debt medical expenses and daily living costs had brought down on her, her family, and her partner. In November of 2008 her partner released "Kaihealoha," a cd comprised of music he had tailor-made for her to dance to.
Days later, after two and a half years of stubbornly fighting for her life, Kimberly drew her final breath around midnight on November 12th, 2008 and peacefully, painlessly, quietly and gracefully slipped away. She was surrounded by loved ones and had been for weeks, and was comfortable in a warmly personalized hospital room that had become her home.
From the day of her diagnosis, Kaihea considered her cancer to be not just a huge and agonizing medical challenge, but also a source of urgency that drove her to live each remaining day to the fullest. Toward the end Kaihea knew she did not have much time, but did not consider herself to have lost her fight against cancer; rather, she felt that every day she continued to cheat death was a gift, a precious opportunity to be with her loved ones, pursue her passions, or simply marvel at the way the sunset's light caressed the paintings in her room.
Her family would like to encourage well-wishers to make donations to the American Cancer Society in her name, so that someday nobody will ever again have to lose a daughter, sister, lover, friend, or inspiration to ovarian cancer.
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