Campus News

Auction to Benefit Instructor Battling Cancer

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 3, 2009) - University of Kentucky faculty, staff and graduate students are coming together to help one of their own as she enters her second bout with cancer. Writing instructor Kelly Feinberg, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009 and with metastasized cancer in her liver in September, will be the beneficiary of a silent auction to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, in the UK Student Center Small Ballroom.

The Feinberg Fund Silent Auction, hosted by the UK College of Arts and Sciences departments of English and Hispanic Studies, along with the Graduate Student Congress, will feature an array of interesting items on the auction block. Gift baskets, services from local businesses and UK Athletics items will be on the block, along with rare items such as an 1806 edition of the complete works of Samuel Johnson (donated from the personal collection of English department faculty member Richard Smith). Autographed books from authors as diverse as Nick Cave, Hulk Hogan Robert Joran, Paul Auster and Thomas Friedman will be available - as well as a sculpture commissioned for the event, artwork by UK faculty and students and items from local artisans.

Feinberg, described by English department doctoral candidate and teaching assistant Leah Bayens as “so dear - open, honest, and kind,” has won awards for her teaching of composition and writing at UK.

“She's the colleague who brings enthusiasm and fresh ideas to any project, from classroom innovations to conference presentations," said Bayens, who is co-organizing the Feinberg Fund Silent Auction with fellow English graduate student Rebecca Beach. "It's always a pleasure to work with such a bright yet unpretentious person, a person who has convictions about fostering healthy communities and who builds those ethics into her life at every level. Perhaps most humbling, though, is the positive spirit Kelly has maintained throughout her physical trials, keeping her chin up for herself, her son, her husband and her friends. For all of these reasons, it's important for us to support Kelly in any way we can as she works through this difficult time in her life.”

Following Feinberg’s initial diagnosis of breast cancer, she underwent a double mastectomy. Initially believing her cancer to be gone, doctors unfortunately discovered malignant tumors in Feinberg’s liver this fall. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy at UK Chandler Hospital. All proceeds from the silent auction – as well as a benefit concert to be scheduled in the future – will assist Feinberg and her family with the enormous medical and living expenses they face.

Feinberg and her husband Matt, a graduate student in the UK Department of Hispanic Studies, are the parents of a 16-month-old son, Ari. Feinberg is also known among her colleagues as an avid gardener, crafter and compassionate co-worker.

"From the first time I met Kelly at our Writing Program new instructor orientation, I admired her. She had so many good ideas for teaching, and I could tell that she is the type of teacher who draws students into the challenge and fun of writing," said Beth Connors-Manke, an English doctoral candidate and teaching assistant. "As a colleague of hers for several years now, I also know that she is the type of person to which many people are drawn because of her kindness and authenticity. We all need her to get better." 

Event organizers are still seeking donations of items for the silent auction. Any local business owners or members of the UK community wishing to donate can contact Rebecca Beach at (931) 624-5939 or Leah Bayens at (859) 583-7796. Donations should be received by Nov. 30.

The Feinberg Fund Silent Auction will be open to the general public, and promises to provide guests the opportunity to pick up some top-notch gift items just in time for the holidays, while knowing they are helping a member of the UK family wage the fight of her life.