"Braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think." -Pooh Bear (from Kim's Caring Bridge journal)
kim’s       daisy run

Kimberly Dawn Kopp was a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend to all.  Born December 17, 1972, she was the first of four daughters to parents Joanne and Jerry Peterson.  She married Dana Michael Kopp in February 1994 and went on to have four beautiful children.  Kim and Mike dedicated their lives to ministering and serving anyone with a need.  They started as ministers and ended as politicians.  She lived a full, but sadly-shortened life losing a battle with a rare form of cancer on July 30, 2011.    

This was her second bout with cancer in two and a half years.  She was initially diagnosed with a rare form of cervical cancer on April 30, 2009 that ended with a radical hysterectomy procedure in June.  One year to the day after her initial diagnosis, she was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the peremetrium on April 30, 2010.  Kim was one of just five people ever diagnosed with this form of cancer in the cervical area.  Along with the cancers, she also developed lymphedema in both legs from the removal of her lymph nodes during the hysterectomy.  She then developed Cushing’s disease from the small cell carcinoma.  Cushing’s brought on unusual side effects like enlarged torso, shrinking muscles in her limbs and darkening skin in her hands, feet, face and elbows.  The doctors removed her adrenal glands hoping to stop the side effects.  She fought the hard fight and if there was something she could do, she did it.  Kim tried a new treatment for her disease that required her to go to San Francisco.  This treatment, interstitial radiation, had never been performed on anyone with her unusual condition and was very successful.  In her final months, she flew back and forth between treatments to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, away from her young family, in an effort to be cured.  

No matter what the circumstance she looked at the bright side.  After reading Kim’s entry about her stay at MD Anderson one of Kim’s friends stated “You make that hospital (visit) sound like a girl’s spa weekend getaway, and that I'm missing out”   If there was an opportunity to make a memory in her last days and months, Kim was all over it. Two weeks before she was admitted to the hospital for a final time, she rallied her entire family on a road trip to Minnesota to see our cousin get married.  It was a last minute, turn-and-burn trip, five days and four nights away with 17 hours of driving on BOTH ends.  When most people in Kim’s shoes would be bedridden (we found out later the pain she was experiencing was caused by her kidneys and liver begining to shut down, not to mention the cancer on her spine which was physically killing her) she packed up her family and hit the road for an adventure. In her journal she wrote about a special time that happened in Iowa on the drive home. The family stopped to “smell the roses” when they spotted fireflies in a corn field. Kim sat in the car and watched her kids and husband jumping, swatting, and swinging their arms wildly trying to capture the florescent bugs and put them in a Tupperware container to use as a nightlight in the van. Kim knew those were the memories that would be important to her and her family here on Earth and for eternity.  

Even though her diagnosis meant she’d have at best five years to live, she never gave up hope that she was going to be the exception. She was sure she was going to be the medical miracle and that hope and her faith shined brightly to everyone around her. But God had other plans for Kim.  She was truly one of the most amazing individuals that anyone has ever had the pleasure of knowing and she’ll be missed by countless people on this planet, especially her four beautiful children: Soren, age 4 Allie-Grace, age 11, Ethan, age 14 and her eldest, Meghan, age 15.