Column: Stakelbeck participates in Relay

Commentary by Erin Murphy

Kimberly Stakelbeck hasn’t been a City of Westfield employee for very long, but you wouldn’t know it if you asked her co-workers. Kimberly has been with the city for less than a year, and she has already had two job titles. She was hired in customer service in 2015, but when a position in human resources opened up, she knew it was where she was meant to be.

Once you meet Kimberly, you instantly know she has the ability to talk to anyone. In my short meeting with Kimberly, I learn a lot about her just by how she communicates with me. She is very giving in her storytelling. The expressions she uses, the words she chooses and the way she tells a story with her hands, you can tell she likes people. Kimberly is the human resources assistant for Westfield, and that means she gets to walk with people in their greatest time of need. She gets to help them.

Kimberly is a colon cancer survivor, and for her, that title comes with responsibility. It is the welcome responsibility of being a shoulder to lean on for cancer patients and their caregivers and helping them find their way through a cancer diagnosis.

As we talk, Kimberly tells me, “It’s an ugly diseases across the board and I don’t want anyone dealing with it because they shouldn’t have to.”

Kimberly says that is why she also participates in Relay for Life. This year she is Team Captain of “Shamrockin’ for a Cure,” a team that was started by a Westfield employee. As a city employee and a cancer survivor, Kimberly is excited to bring awareness to a disease she describes as “suffocating” when you are in the midst of trying to survive.

Kimberly beat her diagnosis of stage 3 colon cancer 11 years ago. She wants cancer patients to know a cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. Since beating cancer she has watched her daughter graduate high school and college and will see her son graduate high school next year. Ten years ago, these were life moments she wasn’t sure she would have, but she reminds me during our brief talk, “you have to live everyday like it’s your last.”

If you would like to participate in Relay for Life of Westfield/Sheridan, it will take place May 20, starting at 6 p.m. at the Westfield High School. For more, visit www.relayforlife.org/westfieldin.