Skip to main content

Swing For Life: Kathy Howa Beats Down Cancer

May 01, 2015 11:35AM, Published by Lewi Lewis, Categories: News


Swing For Life Participants (2013) celebrating $1 million raised.



Superhuman strength, endurance, stamina, physical durability … these are just a few traits that Carol Danvers, alter ego of Ms. Marvel/Captain Marvel possessed, and so to, it seems, Kathy Howa possesses. 

Howa, who has been the head Softball coach and Educator at Rowland Hall since 1993, has collected a mass of achievements and successes underneath her proverbial superhero cape through out her life. 
Kathy Howa (middle right) poses with her softball team in front of a room the John Huntsman Cancer Institute named after the foundation.

 In 2000 and 2002 she was named the Utah Softball Coach of the year by the Utah High School Activities Association. Also in 2002, she was named State and Sectional Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Association. Ten years later she was inducted into the Utah Hall of Fame not only as coach, but as a player as well. Oh, did I also mention that in 2002 she was diagnosed with breast cancer?

“I’m not a quitter. My goal when I was diagnosed was to teach the team that cancer isn’t something you are going to die from. I knew I could beat this, you just have to pick up your cross and go,” Howa said. 

Subsequent to her diagnosis, Howa went through about nine months of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, but she certainly didn’t have to do it alone. 

Kathy Howa posing with the Utah Jazz mascot, Bear, who performs at the Swing For Life Events

 Howa’s students and players weren’t going to take this lying down, so what does a group of athletes tend to do in the face of adversity? They rally.

Realizing the long-armed stretch that cancer has, she and her students decided they wanted to give something back to breast cancer, so they did what they knew best: they started a Hit-A-Thon.

“Kids actually went out and got pledges per hit,” Howa said, explaining just how long the event took. “Everyone got a 100 pitches, or a 100 hits.” The kid raised $12,000 that night. 

With such a successful drive, the following year they did it again. And then again. And again.

They realized that they weren’t raising so much money because people wanted to swing a bat at a ball thrown at them 100 times. They were raising money because the people in the community saw the good these kids were exemplifying and recognized the need for such events. 

“We went from $12,000 to $23,000 to $58,000 and then it went to $78,000,” Howa said. She knew things would keep growing, so the athletic director and her began discussing options; they wanted to make sure the money went to the right place. 

“The Huntsman Cancer Foundation was a place that whatever you give them, 100 percent of it goes to research.”

Whenever Howa spoke about the Huntsman Cancer Foundation, her voice changed into a tone of nearly endless gratitude, and why wouldn’t it? “The Huntsman Cancer Foundation saved me life,” she said. 

Howa helped start and continues to help run the Swing For Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to raise funds for breast cancer research. 

A couple of years ago, the foundation hit $1 million, an incredible feat. 

“The kids worked really hard to reach that, but I think there are some more goals that we can reach,” she said. 

Listening to Howa is like listening to endless energy. She goes and goes, her voice lilting with excitement for life.

 So quick to turn the spotlight off her and onto others, I had to reach out to some of those others, an attempt to better gain an accurate portrait of Howa. 

“She’s a Bulldog,” Lee Thomsen, Upper School Principal said, who has known Howa for 11 years. “She is the teacher/coach who is on the field or in the building long after dark … she has always been a ‘kids-first’ teacher and coach,” he said. 

When asked about pre-cancer diagnoses and post-cancer diagnosis, Thomsen told me he didn’t know Howa before her diagnosis, but he is sure of one thing. “Cancer hasn’t defined Kathy, but the battle to defeat cancer and to educate people has.”

Alan Sparrow echoes this: “She is a wonderful role model for her students. She is an outstanding coach.”

Howa brings her lust for life, both out on the field, in her classroom, and to her personal life with a contagious vigor. 

Cancer is no match for a cause that Kathy Howa has braced herself behind. Well, she has already proved that. 

I asked Howa if she was more like Superwoman or Captian Marvel.

“Man, I just want to me,” she said.    

For more information about Swing For Life and their events, visit www.swingforlife.org.


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/28/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/23/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/25/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    08/27/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/28/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • This is good opportunity for BOTH those planning to join the team and those still not sure. Come,...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    08/30/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Aging Mastery Program

    08/31/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Join the ten-week health and wellness program, Aging Mastery at Millcreek Senior Center. The clas...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/01/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/01/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/02/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • Free Anti-Bullying Class

    09/02/2017
    10:00AM — 11:00AM

    Gracie Barra Sandy hosts a free self defense class once a month on the first Saturday of every mo...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/03/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    09/03/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/04/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/04/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/05/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/06/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/06/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/07/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • Aging Mastery Program

    09/07/2017
    01:00PM — 02:30PM

    Join the ten-week health and wellness program, Aging Mastery at Millcreek Senior Center. The clas...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/08/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/08/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/09/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • Nicho's Cause - 1st Annual Walk-a-Thon

    09/09/2017
    08:00AM — 01:00PM

    Nicho's Cause - Raising awareness for SIDS. Come join us for our: 1st Annual Walk-a-Thon .. 'A ...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/10/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • theBRIDGE Church Grand Opening!

    09/10/2017
    10:00AM — 11:30AM

    Join us this Sunday at 10am @ the Daybreak Community Center in South Jordan, UT!


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Keeping Memories Alive

    09/10/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    I believe that Every Life has a Story and that everyone's story deserves to be told and preserved...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/11/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/11/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/12/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • Get into the River Festival

    09/13/2017
    08:00AM

    Celebrate, restore, recreate and explore the Jordan River Corridor 16 cities, 3 counties, 30 d...


  • FIT4MOM Murray Stroller Strides

    09/13/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    FIT4MOM, the nation’s largest fitness program for new moms, has arrived in Murray. Stroller Strid...


 

 

 

Online Edition Holladay
Online Edition Cottonwood Heights
Follow My City Journals on Facebook
Advertise with us

 

City Journals 9500 South 500 West, Suite 205, Sandy, Utah 84070 801.254.5974