Kate Hendricks Thomas, Ph.D. is a Marine Corps Veteran, wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend to many -- and many more who don't know her but are the direct beneficiaries of her work.
For the last four years, Dr. Kate has been fighting metastatic breast cancer, first diagnosed at Stage 4 in 2018. Induced by Toxic Exposure from Burn Pits during her service in Iraq, Kate has been through every treatment option available and is currently undergoing radiation treatment. Through all of this, Dr. Kate has continued her research, publishing, and advocacy, most recently testifying in the US Senate and appearing at speaking engagements and in the media about the true cost of war.
Author of "Stopping Veterans Suicide," with co-author Sarah Plummer Taylor, "Bulletproofing the Psyche," "Brave Strong True," and "Just Roll With It," Kate is also the co-editor of "Invisible Veterans: What Happens When Military Women Become Civilians Again" with co-editor Kyleanne Hunter, Ph.D. In addition, Kate is a powerful speaker; a tiny sample of Kate "live" is here. Patient and even-keeled, Dr. Kate has served as teacher, coach, and inspiration to YourNexStage.
If her writing and academic work hadn't made a direct difference in the lives of women Veterans, her very direct, broad, and finally successful advocacy for the recognition by the Department of Veterans Affairs of her breast cancer as a military service-related disability undoubtedly will be of direct benefit to every Woman Who Served.
In late October, friends of Kate's asked that YourNexStage consider creating an award to acknowledge Dr. Kate's decades of selfless service. They wanted an annual award to be given to an individual who has gone beyond the call of duty in service to women veterans. We couldn't say no. We have been joined in funding this award by friends of Dr. Kate's as well as organizations that have benefited from this extraordinary woman's intellect, passion, and compassion.
This first award was presented to Dr. Kate's proxy at a YourNexStage event held November 10, 2021, and will continue annually. The funds contributed to this Award are earmarked expressly and exclusively to be given to the Kate Hendricks Thomas Legacy Award winner -- this year, Kate -- and in future years, to the individual selected by a team led by Charlotte Brock, Dr. Kate's friend, fellow OCS, TBS, and four-time duty station colleague and friend.
We've raised a few dollars, but we're not done because Dr. Kate's not done. We invite those who know Dr. Kate and who have benefited -- whether you know it or not -- from her lifetime of work and commitment to Veterans and Women Who Served to contribute.
The Kate Hendricks Thomas Legacy Award will be a cash award presented annually to honor her life, and to recognize her successors who carry on her legacy of superior service to the women veteran community.