Eastern Kentucky Superintendent becomes helper and family hero

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 6
Updated: Jun. 10, 2020 at 8:03 PM EDT
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KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, helpers and heroes have emerged across the nation. While school officials juggled the end of the school year, one county superintendent was not only in charge of health and safety of her district but herself.

Meet Kim King.

Down the hallways of any school in Knott County, you can typically find Knott County superintendent, Kim King.

“I am always in the school buildings at least once a week," she said.

Since the coronavirus pandemic she has taken extra precautions because of her illness.

“First time I was diagnosed with cancer I had been superintendent for five years."

Yet there is still work to accomplish. The focus of meetings have shifted.

“We are going to work on our second meeting with the survey team to get our plan to reenter school in August,” she says.

Looking over surveys they gave to each household in the county.

“I was very pleased. I do not know how you all felt about the number of people completing the survey. What was it? 834 that was pretty good.”

As she and faculty decided what the upcoming school year will feel like.

“As you know they have lightened the guidelines of what we can do on a bus now. We can have full capacity they just have to have their temperatures taken and wear masks.”

And while those decisions are tough, decisions on her health are too. She and doctors use rounds of chemotherapy to help fight cancer cells. That began a decade ago.

Then five years later in 2015 the cancer returned, this time in her liver and back.

Each Monday she drives to Lexington for chemotherapy.

“I am on my sixth set," she said. “We do not stop and get out a lot.”

Traveling city to city taking necessary precautions.

Asking her who ‘we’ was. “My husband. We will have been married thirty one years in two weeks.”

King’s husband was diagnosed with Laryngeal cancer just months after her second diagnosis.

Both beginning treatment within months of one another.

“It was a big shock to my husband and my daughter. She was a senior in high school so it was a big change for her. She had a lot to go through and deal with and she handled it great like a trooper," she finishes as she chokes up.

Her daughter, Kennedy, is a third year medical school student at the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in Pikeville. She took a gap year to help care for both her parents.

“She has not quit working she has not given up which has helped me push through,” Kennedy struggles to finish her sentence, emotions run high.

“Really seeing moms strength that no matter how sick she is no matter what treatment shes gone through she never gives up she keeps trucking through, she keeps going to work and you will never hear her complain," said Kennedy.

Putting work before herself. A habit she says is unbreakable.

“That is me. That is what I do it. That is me,” King exclaimed.

Also unbreakable? Her spirit.

″I want people to know that I am so thankful to God. I am very thankful to God to be here."

Leaving her situation. Her life, in His hands.

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