Irvine resident and Susan G. Komen advocate Kathy Voorhis has died, but her friends vow to keep fighting for "a world without cancer."
Voorhis was surrounded by family at home when she succumbed to breast cancer March 13. She was 61.
It was her second bout with the disease since being diagnosed in 1999.
"Breast cancer took her away from us," said Jane Hill, Voorhis' friend and a fellow Komen advocate. "That means that we won't get to see her and it's been very difficult, but what we still have is that it didn't take away that heart, that vision, she shared with us."
Voorhis joined the Orange County chapter of Susan B. Komen in 2006. She was recognized as the chapter's Most Inspirational Breast Cancer Survivor in 2010. She was also a Race Survivor Tributes co-chairwoman.
"Kathy was amazing," said Hill, who also served as co-chairwoman with Voorhis. "When you saw what Kathy was going through, in pain and still wanting to keep working toward this cause — she inspired so many people."
Advocacy for breast health followed Voorhis everywhere she went, Hill said. Voorhis used every opportunity to encourage other people to get screened and advocate for early detection, Hill said.
But Voorhis had other passions: She was a talented chef, baker, seamstress and embroiderer, said friend and co-Chairwoman Nina Rattner.
"She was extraordinarily talented in so many areas," she said.
And while Voorhis' kindness is noted by those who knew her, Rattner said that she possessed an equally prominent spunky side.
"She was a fighter — you didn't mess with her," she said.
If someone was bogged down by petty problems, Voorhis had no issue providing a little perspective, Rattner said.
"She had a way to make people realize how valuable life was," she said. "It stopped them in their tracks about complaining about small minutia."
Voorhis' appreciation for life was seen in her love of the outdoors. She was an avid camper, hiker and was frequently at the beach, said her daughter Jennifer Miller.
Voorhis is survived by Miller, son Kevin Voorhis and six grandchildren.
"First and foremost, she saw herself as a great mom and grandmother," Miller said. "Her priorities in life were her family and she was a very strong Christian woman. Her faith her got her through most of this."
A memorial service will be from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday at Mariners Church, 5001 Newport Coast Drive, Irvine. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Orange County Affiliate Susan G. Komen for the Cure, 3191-A Airport Loop Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626 or http://www.komenoc.org.