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Daughter a 20-year-old cancer survivor
Pawnee County Relay for Life
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Courtesy Photo Kayle Mollenkamp enjoys spending time with her sister Delanie.

LARNED — Singing the National Anthem comes naturally for Kayle Mollenkamp.
Her mother, Dara Smythe, remembers elementary school teachers reporting their only complaint about Kayle was she would sing to herself in class.
“Yes, Kayle’s always loved to sing,” Smythe said. “During teacher conferences, they’d tell me that she would sing all the time.”
Kayle has sung the National Anthem prior to ballgames and rodeos.
However, when Kayle sings the National Anthem to start the annual Relay for Life for Pawnee County, it’s an emotional time for her family, since she’s a cancer survivor.   
“When she sings the National Anthem, her grandma and I cry every year,” Dara said.
Kayle was 16 when she was diagnosed with a curable form of anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. Doctors discovered a lump in a lymph node after Kayle complained about a pain. Kayle lost her hair during chemotherapy treatments in 2007.
“It was a shock when we got the news,” Dara said. “Like every mother, when your child is sick, you’re supposed to be able to fix it. This was something that was totally out of my control.”
Dara and Kayle were close to begin with, which made the anxious time easier to work through.
Kayle’s classmates at Larned High School were supportive. Classmates enjoyed painting Kayle’s face when she was a cheerleader.
“Kayle took everything in stride,” Dara said. “Her peer group was wonderful to her. She would cheerlead without her wig and the cheerleaders would put ‘war paint,’ on her face.”
Dara said the constant anxiety made her more emotional than usual.
“I can remember that little things would bother me at times,” she said.
Just the time Kayle got a clean bill of health, her younger sister Delanie, 7, received a diagnosis of Rett Syndrome. The neurodevelopmental disorder of the grey matter of the brain affects females more commonly than males. The signs of this disorder are most easily confused with those of Angelman syndrome, cerebral palsy and autism.
“When something like this happens, you’re grateful for every day,” Dara said. “You tell them you love them every day.”   
Now, Dara is in a better place. She’s married Scott Smythe and they are proud parents of a daughter who is attending Fort Hays State majoring in criminal psychology. Kayle has a career goal of being an FBI profiler.
Dara said Relay for Life shows it’s important to remember loved ones who have lost the battle against cancer. Dara has lost two grandparents and a close personal friend to cancer.
Kayle did her part in raising cancer awareness by reaching her goal of 23 miles during Relay for Life.