WayGood Volunteer Cathy Osmundson Receives Survivor Award
by Brenda Winslow
When you first meet Cathy Osmundson of Blue Earth, Minn., you can’t help but notice her beautiful smile and vibrant energy. She’s full of life. She’s full of passion. These qualities are what she has chosen to take from her difficult experiences, and that is why it’s no surprise that others in her community singled her out for a very special honor.
The Difference is You Award Program, sponsored by Hawkins Chevrolet Cadillac and Womeninc Magazine, recognizes women from south central Minnesota and north central Iowa for their contributions to home, work and society. One of five different award categories, the Survivor Award recognizes the strength of a woman’s mind, soul and body demonstrated in those who survive trials of abuse, illness, or an event of distressing loss or injury. The award is presented annually to a woman whose story of survival serves as an inspiration and example to others.
For 17 years, Cathy was an LPN (licensed practical nurse – or, as Cathy quips, “Lowest Paid Nurse!”). In 1990, she decided to return to college to become an RN (registered nurse) so that she could have more opportunities to advance in her field. To achieve this goal, Cathy went to night school for six years. In 1996, she had just decided to focus her efforts full-time into completing the degree when her doctor told her three dreaded words: “You have cancer.”
Cathy was forced to take seven years off from pursing her dream. Since her original diagnosis, she has battled and conquered the recurrence of her ovarian cancer five times. She returned to college in 2003 with the assistance of Vicki Paskey of the Minnesota Valley Action Council. This social services agency provided financial aid so Cathy could finish her degree.
Last December, with her hair barely grown in due to her last cycle of chemotherapy, Cathy graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing. Switchback played at her graduation party, and it was one heck of a celebration!
There is a wonderful twist in this tale: Cathy nominated Vicki Paskey for the program’s Woman Helping Woman Award, which honors a woman who assisted another woman to reach her potential in her desired field or endeavor and who supported her professional development. Meanwhile, Vicki nominated Cathy for the Survivor Award!
Both women won.
On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2006, Cathy and Vicki received their awards at a banquet event called “Ladies Day Out” sponsored by Womeninc Magazine. The winner in each of the five categories took home a special diamond pendant designed by a local jeweler, and had her story published in the magazine. Honorary winners were also recognized. To find out more about Cathy and her outstanding peers, click here.
In the WayGood volunteer world, Cathy promotes Switchback and scopes out potential performance venues for them in Minnesota. She is a valued part of “sTeam,” short for “street team” – Switchback’s cadre of talented volunteers who help promote the band in different parts of the world.
Congratulations, Cathy! The WayGood family is proud to call you one of our own!