It seems that some people have found the way I've approached cancer to be interesting.

Channel 9 News
Early in October 2009, Channel 9 in Denver, CO, contacted us and said that someone who was in one of my chemo treatments thought my daughter and I would make an interesting human interest story. On December 14, our interviewer, Adam Chodak, and camera woman, Ann, came to film my chemo treatment. After chemo, they followed us to our house where they filmed me shaving my head (I did tell you that my hair is growing back...), and Tiffany painting a beautiful creation on my bald pate. See the story here:

Great Day Houston
The day after Thanksgiving 2009, Tiffany and I took a trip to Houston, TX, for a family visit. My sister had emailed the producer of the morning show "Great Day Houston" to tell my head-painting story. The producer gave us tickets to be a part of the audience on the show last Friday (Dec 4). When we arrived, we were told to sit on the front row of the audience as Deborah (the star of the show) might come to the audience and visit with us.

Toward the end of the show during one of the breaks, one of the show crew came to put a microphone on me. To my great surprise, Deborah motioned to me to come to the stage! Before our segment started, I told her I had no idea what was going to come out of my mouth, but that I don't have Tourret's. She laughed and I felt more at ease.

Deborah told one of the stage crew to let her know when we had 30 seconds left, then we were ON THE AIR - live to Houston (4th largest city in the US)!!! Oh, my goodness!!!! YIKES! When the crew signaled that we had 30 seconds left, Deborah asked one of the show's sponsors, Bradley Marks of I W Marks (, to come to the stage. He came and presented me with a $500 gift certificate to his store! After the show he told me that both of his parents had died from cancer and that my story was very meaningful to him. I spent the rest of the day an emotional wreck, as I was so touched by everything. Tiffany said that the whole audience gasped in delight when I was presented with the certificate - by then I was so overwhelmed that I didn't know what was going on.

When we went to the I W Marks store, I told Bradley that I wanted to use my certificate to get my wedding ring resized so I can wear it with my swollen finger (it is swollen most of the time because of my lymphedema). He said he wants to fix the ring free of charge - that he really wanted me to choose something nice from the store. More tears...

I found a lovely pair of gold earrings and asked how much they were. He picked up the box and said my certificate would cover it. Tiffany saw the price tag - it was much more than $500! I'm truly blessed and thankful.

I had a wonderful time in Houston, and I'm ready to plow into these last few weeks of treatments - happy and blessed!

There is a video of my interview with Deborah.

Channel 9 News
Tiffany, a friend of ours (Stephanie) and I did face painting at the Susan G. Koeman Race For The Cure in Denver. Click HERE to view the video about the event - it has a very short clip of me at 1:25-minute mark.

Channel 7 News
About 3:30 in the afternoon on October 28, 2010, I received a phone call from Marshall Zelinger of Channel 7 News in Denver, CO. He said he'd heard about my story and would be interested in interviewing me. He and his cameraman, James, were in the house doing the interview by 7:00 that evening! We had a lovely time with Tiffany painting my head as we chatted.

Watch the interview here:


The Greeley Tribune ran the two articles posted below.

Greeley Tribune, Monday, March 9, 2009
Artist fights cancer with cement
Victoria Barbatelli

At 62 years old, Kay Anderson of Greeley has two calendars for 2009: one with upcoming craft shows to display her concrete art, and the other with scheduled chemotherapy, radiation and drug treatments to battle the breast cancer she was diagnosed with last November.

Her favored calendar is the one with this year’s 27 shows that she, her metal-crafting husband, Ernie, 69, and their glass- and metal-designing daughter, Tiffany Koehn, will participate in this year.

The other is a different sort of timetable, displaying her three back-to-back surgeries that removed bits of the cancer, her 18 weeks of chemotherapy to come, the three weeks of radiation treatment the doctor has ordered, and finally, a year of scheduled infusions of Herceptin, a cancer-treatment therapy drug.

“I have cancer, it doesn’t have me,” Anderson said.

The family was at the New Home and Remodel Show to sell some of their creations Sunday at The Ranch, Interstate 25 and Crossroads Boulevard in Loveland.

Anderson said she loves the idea of taking something industrial, such as cement, and making it pretty. So, when she and Ernie saw an artist’s lawn columns near their old home in Seattle, Anderson thought, “I could do that.”

She is a retired tech support agent for Seattle-based Adobe Systems Inc., and the only experience she had with cement was making miniature stepping-stones with her grandchildren when they came to visit her in Seattle.

But, with the help of Google and heavy experimentation, Anderson is proudly self-taught and now handcrafts giant concrete rhubarb leaves, planters, columns, fire pits and crosses for the yard.

With one chemo treatment down and five to go — spread over 18 weeks — the only restriction her doctor has put on her activity is her aerobics, which he suggested be replaced with walking.

Anderson hates walking, so for now, she will continue lugging and mixing the 80-pound bags of cement from Home Depot herself.

“My favorite present ever was my cement mixer for our 40th anniversary,” Anderson said. She got the gift from her husband.

He got a new shovel for their 40th anniversary.

“We don’t want to be couch potatoes,” he said. “Working hard keeps me out of the bars and from chasing wild women,” he said, looking at his wife and laughing.

Both Ernie and Kay find gratification in building something from scratch and seeing it take the form of something beautiful.

Now, their front yard has more lawn ornaments than a person driving by would be able to count.

The three artists work in the Anderson’s double-car garage, which is filled with cement, scrap metal, glass blowing instruments and tools. Anderson finds strength to overcome her cancer in the support she receives from her family.

Last week, the Andersons hosted a head-shaving party for Kay. Twenty-five family members and neighborhood friends came together for a special meal before Kay, her husband, their son, their daughter and a craft show friend all moved to the garage to shave their heads in solidarity.

“I’m so glad everyone’s laughing instead of crying,” Anderson remembered her granddaughter saying after the shaving party.

Anderson’s blue eyes don’t look tired, but as her chemo treatments continue, her doctor warned she would become more and more fatigued. Working 10-hour days for three days straight to finish a column may be something that needs to be taken slow.

Her husband said she’ll just do what she feels like, when she feels like it — whether it be one hour of work or 10.

“Concrete is very therapeutic for me. … I’m so stubborn, I don’t like sitting down at all,” Anderson said.

“I have cancer, it doesn’t have me,” she reiterated.

Greeley Tribune, Monday, October 25, 2010
Greeley woman uses her head to draw awareness to cancer
By Mike Peters

You're going to stare at her.

You know it's not proper to stare, but you'll do it anyway. And really, it's OK.

Kay Anderson is used to it, and in fact, she encourages it. She gives hugs for it.

She's beaten cancer for now. She is cancer free, and her last chemo treatment was in February. Like women with breast cancer, she lost her hair when the treatments started, but Anderson was resolute — she wouldn't allow it to get the best of her.

“I decided to embrace baldness, to have fun with it,” Anderson will tell you. “I decided to get on with fighting for my life.”

So, she talked to her artistic daughter, Tiffany Koehn, and got her to learn how to do face painting. From there, it went to Anderson's head.

Now, when you see her around town, you'll notice the flowers, or the butterflies, or a pattern that matches the blouse she is wearing. It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour to paint Anderson's head; the paint lasts for two or three days until it fades and Anderson washes it off.

But during those times, she makes a statement.

“I learned that with 60 percent of the women who have chemo, the worst part is losing their hair,” Anderson said. “I didn't want to wear a wig or a hat. I was hoping I could find something empowering to women.”

Koehn has now painted heads, arms and the bellies of pregnant women. She uses theater makeup paint and colors as bright as possible. She recently painted a friend's pregnant belly to look like a jack-o'-lantern.

“We usually charge $5 each,” Tiffany said. “But that money all goes to fighting breast cancer.”

Anderson is 64 and has been married to Ernie Anderson for 45 years. They've lived in Lamar, Fort Morgan, and for 20 years in Seattle, Wash. After Ernie retired, they moved to Greeley in 2006 to be closer to their children and grandchildren.

All three — Tiffany, Kay and Ernie — are artists. While Tiffany specializes in glass, both blown-glass and jewelry, Kay is a concrete artist, and Ernie works in metal.

It you pass their home on Panorama Drive, you'll some of Ernie's metal art out front, along with Kay's concrete columns and a concrete palm tree.

“All of us suddenly got into art about the same time,” Ernie said. “About eight years ago in Seattle. We each just found what we wanted to do.”

So, in addition to the family art, Kay meets strangers every day because of her painted head.

“We follow themes sometimes,” Kay said. “Tiffany has painted the Nutcracker Suite on my head for Christmas, we've had a Halloween theme and even fireworks on the Fourth of July.”

Painted on her head every time is at least one heart. That's important to both Tiffany, the artist, and to Kay, the “canvas.”

Since her head-painting began, the mother and daughter have attended numerous cancer events, where Kay talks about empowerment, and Tiffany paints heads. Kay also volunteers at the oncology desk at North Colorado Medical Center.

Kay has also started a website, Beautifully Bald, to discuss cancer and show off her daughter's head paintings.

Although she's cancer-free now, Kay continues to shave her head because the baldness makes a statement about cancer.

“It's our ‘neener-neener-neener' to breast cancer,” Kay said and laughed.

And, if you see her out there, at stores, restaurants, coffee shops, you should stop and talk. Kay wants that.

And watch out. If you stare, she just might come over and give you a hug.