Triad Magazine

A Hillsborough Community College Student Publication since 1978.

Enduring Heart

By Geoff Igartua


Kate Ruth was pleading with

her instructor. She had missed two

of the first four weeks of school and

was begging for time to catch up. The

professor said yes, and Ruth appeared

relieved but exhausted.

It has been anything but a good

start to the spring semester for Ruth, 21.

On Jan. 25, her grandmother suffered

a stroke and died. A week later, at the

memorial service, Ruth’s mother also

suffered a stroke and lost feeling in her

right side.

“I still haven’t found myself crying,

mainly because I’m in complete shock

that the two most prominent female

figures in my life were in so much

pain,” said Ruth.

Remembering the great times

spent with both of her role models

was easy for her. “My mom, she’s

so wonderful and vivacious and

awesome,” she said. “How could she

not be the most influential person in my


Her strong bond with her mother

comes from being homeschooled

during her middle school years, where

learning was more of an adventure

than a chore. “We went to museums

all over Florida, such as the Kennedy

Space Center, and she would make me

do my times tables standing in line at

Disney,” Ruth said. ”I learned algebra

and percentages by shopping sales and

figuring out the amount things cost

before she let me buy them.”

Not every person can cope with

such tragedy the way Ruth has; her

strength has been built from personal

battles with her own health. After

graduating from Durant High School

in 2006, Ruth planned to attend the

Culinary Institute of America. She had

been granted a scholarship and was

ready to pick up and move to New York,

but before she could leave her life was

turned upside down.

“Three weeks after graduation

she lost her depth perception and

three points off her vision,” said Brett

Bordeaux, Ruth’s close friend. “Then

began the medical tests, and by the end

of our freshmen year, she had been

diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which

kept her from leaving.”

Being diagnosed with an incurable

disease would slow many, but Ruth’s

strong religious belief is her glue. “I’m

a Calvinist, so I believe that everything

happens for a purpose. I believe there’s

a plan, and that God’s timing is perfect,”

she said.

Ruth is now a liberal arts major

at HCC and plans to transfer to the

University of South Florida to study

marketing. “It’s like my dad always

says,” Ruth added, “it’s not where you’re

going; it is where you have been.”

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