Kristin had a spirit, sense of humor and infectious energy level that encompassed all who knew her. She valued friendship as a special gift.
A native of Maryland, Kristin spent most of her younger years in Bowie and attended Queen Anne High School. She then moved to Galesville, MD with her mother, stepfather and sister where she learned to sail and love the Chesapeake. Kristin attended the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and widened her community of friends and interests. She was a founding member and President of Phi Mu Sorority and graduated UMBC with a BA in Health Science Policy in 1989.
Kristin then earned her MBA at the University of Maryland, College Park while also working full time as Advertising Manager for the New Bay Times newspaper during its initial startup phase. Once graduated, she worked Baltimore for Harte Hanks, a national marketing company. During this time she incorporated innovative computer data base integration with direct mail concepts new to advertising world at that time. The results of these efforts caught the attention of Saatchi & Saatchi, a giant advertising agency based in Los Angeles. Harte Hanks won a very large advertising contract with Saatchi & Saatchi conditional on Kristin managing the contract from their LA office. With her skills, her power and her dog Oscar, she took the plunge and moved to California. After completing her Saatchi & Saatchi contract, Kristin was sought after by start up dot.com companies and helped several of these new companies grow to IPO status.
Work was not everything to Kristin. She also loved the sun and water and lived in a cottage just a few blocks from the ocean in Hermosa Beach. Her cottage was small but cozy and always open to friends and family. For six years she shared the cottage with her sister Sherry Koch a flight attendant with United Airlines some of their parties are still talked about. Sometimes they wished for rains so they could have an excuse to just have a reading day or video marathon. Living in LA was a great adventure for a single young woman but she often felt that LA was not a place to settle, she missed the Chesapeake and her friends and family back east.
A series of tragedies and family events occurred in her life over a short period that spurred on drastic changes. In 2001 her mother was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma cancer of the femur, thankfully the tumor was successfully treated. The September 11th terrorist attack affected her greatly with friends and family living in NYC and her sister working as a flight attendant and her step father a Captain with American Airlines. Then in January of 2003 her stepfather, Bob Koch, died suddenly in a small plane crash. Bob and Kristin were very close and often spent hours talking with each other. His loss affected her dearly. Shortly after Bob died, her dog Oscar was diagnosed with sarcoma cancer and died in May of 2003
The summer of 2003 Kristin made a life changing decision and took several months from work. She went fly fishing in Park City, Utah with her mother, sailing on the Chesapeake and several weeks at a yoga camp becoming a certified instructor. In September of 2003 Kristin left high-powered LA and began the move home, stopping first in Park City, Utah at the families second home for the last 20 years.
Kristin had always been in Park City during the winter season. Now experiencing the summer and fell in love with the area and decided to purchase a home as an investment and temporary base in Park City. In October she purchased a condo and went to settlement in November. During this time she also met a local resident and started a very serious relationship. All looked great and Kristin was the happiest that she had been in ages.
In September, 2003 she started complaining of a groin pull type of pain as well as some back pain. Kristin had just returned from yoga camp in August and packing and moving in September. She went to a chiropractor, physical therapist and general physicians trying to fix the hurt. The pain increased and none of the treatments were working. Meanwhile Kristin kept up a good front. She followed through on the condo purchase and wanted to begin renovations. She kept putting if off going to the doctor thinking pain would go away. Chiropractors told her she had an extra vertebra, acupuncturist told her something else and the general practioner sent her to physical therapy. They all missed the signs. Finally, in the first week of December Kristin was forced to go to an orthopedic surgeon. She had a hip displacement and the initial x-ray showed three fractures of her hip. Then they did a CT scan, which showed a large chondrosarcoma of the hip. How Kristin had even been walking is a wonder. Kristin was immediately flown to the Orthopedic Oncology Center at the Washington Hospital Center where her mother had been treated. The MRI and biopsy done at the center revealed that the cancer had already spread to her lungs and was stage IV chondrosarcoma. The doctors performed an internal Hemipelvecotomy and started chemotherapy. Despite aggressive surgery, chemotherapy, the love of countless friends and family, and the strongest spirit a person could exhibit Kristin died Tuesday, February 17.
Kristin was in extreme pain but never said a harsh word to anyone during her total hospital stay. She was courageous to the end and showed concern for what would happen to others. She kept her sense of humor and love. Kristins legacy is shown in the incredible friendships she had. At no time was Kristin ever alone in the hospital. Friends and family stayed with her the 2 months and seven days. Kristin will be missed greatly.
Kristin is survived by her mother, Sally Julian Koch; her father, Eric Sohr; two sisters, Sherry Whitaker and Diane Nafziger; two brothers, Brian and Keith Sohr; and her grandmother, Lois Mitchell Levinson; as well as far too many family and friends for these pages.
Those who loved Kristin did not want this death to be in vain. Perhaps we can make something good come out of this. For this reason we have started this special research effort. We think we can make a difference.
How did Kristin get this cancer? No one knows the research concerning the cause of Chondrosarcoma because it is almost non-existent.
Why wasn't it discovered sooner? The signs and symptoms that Kristin exhibited were obvious in hind site. We need to get the word out. The only treatment to date is surgery prior to metastasis - so early detection is the only answer.
Why couldn't traditional cancer treatments help? Chemotherapy, radical surgery or radiation would not have made a difference.
What is the connection between Kristin and her mother having the same rare cancer basically at the same time? Were they exposed to something? Is it genetic?
These are just a few of the questions this research effort is posed to answer.
The Kristin Julian Sohr Cancer Research Fund is a 501 not-for-profit corporation. Our mission is exclusively for charitable, literary, research and educational purposes, including for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or any corresponding section any future federal tax code. Its ultimate mission is to decrease the mortalityand morbidity of Chondrosarcoma of the Pelvis and Femur. Tax ID number is 84-1669520