Cancer victim who fought for a cure dies

Published 10:45 am Saturday, June 19, 2010

FRANKLIN—Kelly Carpenito Makoske fought cancer on two levels — as a victim and an advocate for a cure.

Thursday, the Courtland woman lost her battle to the disease, passing at 7:30 p.m. at the University of North Carolina Memorial Hospital in Chapel Hill, N.C. She was 45.

Friends on Friday remembered Makoske as a strong person with a bright smile, despite having cancer four times. Makoske also was remembered for her endless attempt to raise money locally for cancer research.

“Kelly had a long, courageous battle with cancer,” said friend Kathy Worrell, who was a fellow fundraiser with Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life. “At each re-occurrence, she bravely faced it and fought to the end – always with that big, bright smile.”

A 1984 graduate of Southampton High School, Makoske was captain of Kelly’s Angels Relay for Life team.

“Year after year, regardless of how she felt, she came out to the relay and walked those laps,” Worrell said. “She visited with other survivors — encouraging them to keep on going. She was an inspiration to all who knew her.”

Makoske participated in the local Relay for Life for years, said Becky Plate, who works for the American Cancer Society in Virginia Beach.

“She had a commitment to fight and was very committed to Relay,” Plate said. “It’s always devastating when you lose someone to this horrible disease. It reminds us of how much work we have to do.”

She spoke with Makoske during the Survivors’ Dinner on June 4, which was held as part of the recent Relay for Life weekend in Franklin.

“I thought she looked great and she had a real positive attitude,” Plate said.

Christine Hill, co-captain for Kelly’s Angels Relay for Life, talked about Makoske’s strength and passion for Relay for Life. Hill said Makoske raised thousands of dollars.

“That was one of her things,” Hill said. “She was really into selling the luminaries, which are lit at night in memory or honor of someone.”

Jack Norvell, who is also involved with Relay for Life, remembers Makoske caring for the late Chester Burgess, a fellow cancer victim.

“She looked after him and he looked after her,” Norvell said. “It was a back and forth battle.”

“She always fought hard,” he continued. “She had a great personality, a lot of energy and a lot of passion.”

Friend Mitzi Lusk noted that Makoske would rather focus on someone else’s problems than her own.

“She always put everyone before her,” Lusk said.

She at one time was a member of Makoske’s Relay for Life team.

“That girl fought with everything,” Lusk said. “She loved Relay and was so proud to walk that survivor lap. She got into it with everything she could.”

Now that Makoske has passed, Lusk can’t help but think about her friend’s eyes and how they sparkled.

“And her smile . . . it was the biggest, brightest most beautiful smile,” Lusk said. “She was so full of energy and laughter.”