Remembering Kristy Papka
It fills me with sadness to inform all staff that Kristy Papka lost her battle with cancer on August 19th, 2017. Kristy fought hard to the end and never lost her positive outlook on life. She passed away peacefully with her brother/best friend by her side. For those of you who didn’t know her she was the Assistant Manager of the Mission location and had worked at Good Vibrations since August of 2012. She had just turned 37 years old in June.
When Kristy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in November of 2016 we both shared tears on the phone but neither of us had thought this would be the outcome. During this same conversation where she told me about her diagnosis she also told me she was still going to help me move into my new place!
“I made a promise to you and I am going to keep it!”. I laughed and told her I would of course never let her do that, but that was Kristy. Always self-reliant and offering to lend a hand but now the time had come where she needed us to help her.
Kristy came to the bay area on a scholarship to Mills College where she majored in Women’s Studies. She told me before she passed that she was proud to have always done what she wanted to in her life. People had told her that her major was “foolish”, that there were things she couldn’t do and things she couldn’t be. Refusing to listening to their negativity she did it her own way. She told me that everything she had done in her life had led her to SF and even to working at Good Vibrations.
The only regret she expressed was that she wished she could have hugged all the people she loved a little longer. She loved her job and was proud to work with so many amazing, caring and concerned people . She was very proud of what we do and was grateful to be able to do what she felt made a difference, while being able to live in her favorite city. Before she passed her brother had asked her what her favorite thing about San Francisco was? She smiled a bright smile and said, “You can be yourself”.
Kristy was truly someone who loved life and lived it to the fullest without complaint. She was someone who was not afraid to give her time to make people feel special and it made an impact on every person she had met. I once told her she was the nicest person I ever known. She thanked me and said that it meant a lot to her and I knew that was the truth. She inspired me to be more grateful, more giving and more empathetic. But also, to always speak up about injustice and support folks who need our strength. I know we will all remember how her smile would light up a room and how special and valued she made everyone feel with a simple card. I feel lucky to have known someone with such a passion for living and blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of her life. I want to thank you all of you for helping her these past months with your donations, kind words and your time.
San Francisco Area Manager | Good Vibrations