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I’m Kate. I’ve got stage IV colon cancer. This is a blog about how I’m doing and what I’m doing. I shall try not to make it gloomy. There will be news about my health and family but also thoughts about life. If you want the backstory to this blog, read the How It All Began Page.

But here for your viewing pleasure is a picture of me looking beee-ooo-tiful and well with lots of make up on. This is basically how I look in my little attic bedroom in Cambridge, too.  Picture me thus, or perhaps like an Austen heroine covered in my mauve mohair blanket. Or running after the Knights. But not 4 days post-chemo with my vomity-face on.  


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  1. Streets Where I have lived / May 7 2014 3:47 pm

    I just read your piece in Vogue and it was so beautiful and life affirming that it made me weep in the coffee shop where I sat. x

  2. Sue Pretty / May 11 2014 3:59 pm

    We none of us can change what happens or our lot when one in four people are diagnosed with this hideous disease. You are making the best of it that you can and you look amazing considering. Wishing you a miracle cure so that you can see your children grow up. X x

  3. A / May 18 2014 2:16 pm

    Hello, I read your piece in the Weekend section of The Daily Telegraph. It was avery moving piece, I read it about 3 times and thought I must post a comment. A friend of mine was diagnosed with bowel cancer but I handled it badly (this was 24 years ago), maturity and life hopefully would make me react differently now. Her volatile personality made me step back to much. Your honesty in the DT was eye opening – my best wishes to you and all your family. Angela Jowsey

  4. Melissa White / May 19 2014 1:13 pm

    Dear Kate, Thank you! I just read your article (What to say to a 35 year old mother dying of cancer) and found myself totally moved by your words and advise. I have just retired from a 33 year long career with a major corporation, to do what I believe God put me on this earth to do… work with terminally ill patients and their families. I have no idea what I’m supposed to do exactly, but my goal is to find out … and do it with all my heart, until my time is up!

    Thank you so very much, as I found your article insightful and very helpful. Your words will stay with me and I am sure that down the road I will have the pleasure of being able to share them with a friend, or relative of one of my “patients” and they will find comfort and clarity in them, just as I did.

    I wish you and your family love and peace and wish you well on your journey.

    Regards, Melissa White

    • Sue Pretty / May 26 2014 2:25 pm

      Go for it Melissa I wish you luck. I too missed what I believe to be my vocation in life and wish I was in a financial position to change it all x

      • Melissa White / May 26 2014 3:06 pm

        Thank you Sue.I hope you too can eventually do what God put you here to do.

    • caroline / Dec 27 2014 1:49 pm

      Dear Melissa, i too am having a turn around in my life, and am a Marie curie volunteer, who has been training to be an end of life doula, what i feel to be my true purpose in life. I am curious to know in what role you support terminally ill people, if you don’t mind sharing that on here ?


  5. Corrina Earlie / May 22 2014 10:12 am

    Dear Kate how can i send you an email there is no contact info here?

    • Kate Gross / May 26 2014 9:15 pm

      Hi Corrina – put your details up and I will email you! I deliberately don’t put my email on the blog. Kate x

      • Brian Parsons / Jun 5 2014 2:00 pm

        Kate – it’s Parso. Been trying to track you down since reading your fantastic piece in the Telegraph a few weeks back. Obviously I am too much of a luddite for the book of face and have lost all other contact details. If you fancy hearing from me then ping me an e-mail at and I’ll send you an update. Best P x

  6. Lucy Brady / May 23 2014 9:13 pm

    Hi Kate

    My mother has inoperable ovarian cancer and just forwarded me your Telegraph article as she thought you got it absolutely spot on – and I completely agree. It is a very small world even where cancer is concerned as you were actually the year above me at Keble! so I was particularly moved by your story. You write beautifully and I hope that the fact that your words are genuinely making a difference to other people is helping you get through this time in some small way.

    All the very best, Lucy (Edgar) xxx

    • Kate Gross / Jun 4 2014 12:01 pm

      Hi Lucy – lovely to hear from you. And I’m touched and pleased that my words have helped provide a bit of comfort and some practical support for you and your mum. Very good luck to you and her. And happy memories of Keble English students! Xxx

  7. Sarah Green / May 31 2014 5:12 pm

    Dear Kate
    I read your piece in the DT and instantly recognised you from our class at St Stephens. I remember happy play dates, your lovely Mum and sister and your dog! I also live near Cambridge now with 3 small children.
    But what strikes me most is your incredible wisdom and bravery which is far greater than the sum of our 36 years.
    Sending you love and best wishes, Sarah Green (nee Kingsnorth)

  8. Minh Nguyen / Jun 8 2014 9:50 am

    Dear Kate,

    I am writing to you from Vietnam.
    I want to send email to you for more information exchange.
    Please take care.

    Minh Nguyen

  9. Georgina / Jul 16 2014 6:25 pm

    I’ve just got round to reading my May copy of Vogue and was very touched by your brilliant article and your brilliant attitude which it reflects. As an adjective, “inspirational” gets thrown around a lot these days but I think you fit the bill. Congratulations on your fantastic work and spirit.

  10. Alison Dunwell / Aug 2 2014 11:48 pm

    Hi Kate!

    I read your article in Vogue a few months ago, which really struck a chord with me as I’m a make up artist and hearing someone like you say that you felt so much better for looking good made me feel better about my own slightly vacuous profession.

    I’m writing to you to get your opinion on make up and being a contemporary feminist. I recently made up Jenni Murray who presents Women’s Hour on Radio 4 for her new head shots. She was particularly fussy about her appearance, acting as if she didn’t want any hair or make up, which actually made me think that she was MORE vain than your average woman. She also said to me that my job was her ‘least favourite profession.’ To which I wanted to reply something along the lines of “does being as intelligent as you erase manners from your brain?!” I would like to write her a letter outlining these points. Having read your lovely article on how looking and feeling glamorous made you feel so much better about yourself during a difficult time, I thought you would be an excellent person to reference.

    I really hope that your treatment is going well and that you are enjoying your lovely family and indulgent beauty treatments!

    Best wishes

    Ali x

  11. David / Nov 19 2014 9:04 am

    Dear Kate Many thanks for raising all these issues. Have just read Tines piece and despite the sad overlay ( or underlay?)you make some brilliant points which I think will be of great help to people. All good wishes to you and your fantastic family. Yours David

  12. Louise / Nov 20 2014 7:52 pm

    You are an amazing woman. I lost my Mum at 8, I remember her. Your recent prose in ‘The Times’ is the first time I have read anything like this. Be assured those boys and that man will take you to their ‘life adventures’. You are immortal as a beautiful and much loved Mum and wife.
    Big hugs

  13. Elaine / Nov 23 2014 10:43 pm

    Kate, Thank you so much for this blog it has helped me immensely on how to approach and deal with my best friends illness. For the first time ever I didn’t know what to say to my friend, cancer put a wall between us, your words broke it down and give me the strength I need to support her through this harrowing time, thank you.

    Louise, I think your comment is absolutely lovely 🙂 My best friend has recently been diagnosed with Terminal cancer and I know her biggest concern is leaving her partner and little boy behind. It will cheer her greatly to hear that you remember your mum and I agree with you that we will take her to all of our life adventures. She has been my best friend since I was six and she will continue to be my best friend for eternity.

  14. tom / Dec 9 2014 1:31 pm

    Hello Kate, ahead of R3 Private Passions be great to feature you in Radio Times. Drop me a mail if you can. Thanks Tom

  15. Micol cresto Dina / Dec 21 2014 2:55 pm

    Hi kate gross I am an 11 year old girl and am totally in spired by your writing. You are surely my roll model. I have literally read everything about you.

  16. Tony Pike / Dec 24 2014 3:53 pm

    Dear Kate
    I have just had the very great pleasure of meeting your husband and your two boys near the Isaac Newton statue in Trinity College chapel
    What a delightful family you have and how interesting that one of your boys was named after Sir Isaac
    Sadly I did not have the additional pleasure of meeting their wonderful wife and mother but I am thinking of you……..
    I have ordered your book and look forward very much to reading it as soon as it arrives in the second half of January
    God Bless you all
    With much love
    Tony Pike

  17. B George / Jan 4 2015 1:08 pm

    I have just heard Kate on Private Passions. For my own personal reasons I was moved and heartened by the choice of music. In particular the track from West Side Story. I am deeply saddened to hear of Kate’s passing. I wish all the very best to her family and friends.
    Kindest regards
    B George

  18. helen mitchem / Jan 14 2015 12:57 pm

    I heard your beautiful voice on Private Passions too and I am so sorry for your family and their loss and that we the public no longer have your inspirational words to help us struggle through average lives. I know you are gone but I hope your family with take your strength and passion for life with them forever more. I am going to make a donation in memory of you to Medecins Sans Frontieres as I heard an article about them this morning on the news about their clinics for pregnant women with Ebola and have just read your blog about MSF, so I thought that would be a good place to donate.
    from Helen Mitchem x

  19. Marianne McWey / Dec 10 2015 10:12 am

    Tonight I read your book late fragments in one sitting. It was just beautiful. I know you are not here to read this but I just wanted your husband and little boys to know that you have left a beautifully written, poignant and powerful legacy about appreciating life and the simplicity of it. You will stay in my thoughts. May you rest in peace. Marianne McWey, Cork, Ireland.


  1. Late Fragments by Kate Gross |
  2. Late Fragments by Kate Gross – Colour Me Woman

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