Kass Anderton, 47, `Lived To Live'
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Kass Anderton's gritty, 15-year battle with HIV/AIDS is over.
Over, too, is her lifelong struggle with Marfan syndrome, a metabolic disorder of the joints and aorta.
But the leadership Ms. Anderton provided in the larger war against HIV/AIDS and against the discrimination it and other disabilities provoke, lives on.
Ms. Anderton died Thursday (Feb. 27) of an aortic aneurysm at home in Seattle's Wedgwood community. She was 47.
"She leaves such a big void because she touched so many people and raised awareness of the problems of people living with HIV/AIDS and other disabilities," said her friend Emily Ericsen.
Ms. Anderton contracted the HIV virus during surgery in the early 1980s. She founded BABES, a support group for women with HIV/AIDS and began a group for people with Marfan syndrome.
In 1994 she won the Governor's Trophy for her work on the HIV/AIDS Planning Council, a regional policy-making body. She also served on the Governor's Committee on Disability Issues and Employment.
The 6-foot-tall Portland native worked through pain daily not only to improve others' lives but also to enjoy her own. River-rafting, acting in local plays and clothes-shopping brought her pleasure.
"She didn't just live to survive her disease," said Ericsen, "she lived to live."
The University of Portland graduate had worked for several state departments, including Employment Security and led workshops on preventing workplace discrimination against people with disabilities.
In off hours she grew roses and traveled.
"We went into this church at Chimayo (N.M.) that was noted for its miraculous cures," Ericsen said. "Kass was so embarrassed to walk out of there still with her crutches, with all the nuns watching."
Ms. Anderton had a strong sense of humor. When she developed breast cancer four years ago, she took teasing for not being able to form a support group because there already was one.
"She really did live beyond her pain," said her brother Joe Anderton of Seattle. "She was a prayerful person. She did a lot of reading on spiritual healing."
Other survivors include her father, David Anderton of Sheridan, Ore.; her mother, Shirley Butler, Yakima; and siblings Greg Anderton, Portland, Ore.; Nanci Cox, Coral Springs, Fla.; Mark Anderton, Portland; Blaine Anderton, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Matt Anderton, Yakima; and James Anderton, Austin, Texas.
Services are tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph Church, 732 18th Ave. E., Seattle. Memorial gifts may go to BABES, c/o People of Color Against AIDS Network (POCAAN), 1200 S. Jackson St., Seattle, WA 98144; or any other women's or children's health organization.
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