A friendship for all seasons
MHS senior Lexi Dupee shaves her head to support softball teammate Kaitlyn Konrardy in her battle against cancer
By Marv Kohlbeck
All of us develop friendships of varying degrees in life.
The two girls pictured here met on a softball diamond while participating on the Marshfield High School softball team last year. Their friendship was a hit from the beginning. They look forward to a successful spring season by already participating in organized winter practices with their teammates.
Kaitlyn Konrardy, a 15-year-old sophomore, is a speedball pitcher and also plays first base. Lexi Dupee, a 17-year-old senior, is an experienced catcher and third baseman.
Normally, a picture of ballplayers would feature them swinging a bat, fielding a ball, or sliding into a base. Here they are holding locks of hair. The reason for this boils down to the development of their friendship.
When Konrardy was 10 years old, she was diagnosed with a youthful cancer setback. Treatment initially led to remission of the cancer, but around homecoming in 2015, Konrardy had a routine blood test as part of a medical checkup that showed a recurrence of cancer.
Once again periodic treatments were prescribed in hopes of arresting the attack. As treatments were applied, Konrardy noticed that she was beginning to lose tufts of hair. Being a determined young gal, she decided to have her head shaven.
When Dupee found out about Konrardy’s plan, she “stepped up to the plate” and informed her good friend that she would follow suit by also having her head shaved to show her moral support. Together they went to Fantastic Sams in Marshfield and ended up donating their strands of hair to Locks of Love as an uplifting gesture for other young girls suffering similar hair loss.
The baldheaded appearance has not deterred either from attending school on a regular basis or participating in other activities, such as Konrardy appearing in the Winter Concert Treble Choir on Dec. 21. Seated in the auditorium filled with classmates, family members, and others was her baldheaded friend Dupee again showing her support.
Konrardy, who lives in the Auburndale-Marshfield area, freely milled around the crowd following the concert, and when approached with questions of her situation, she responded without hesitation.
Regarding what words of encouragement she would have to offer for other youth faced with similar circumstances, Konrardy said, “I would tell them that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and be determined to fight on and not give up as cancer can be beaten. I look forward to continue my desire to play softball this spring and summer and continue my education to pursue a future of sales in the medical field.”
Konrardy’s parents — Steve and Brenda — said that they were overwhelmed by the support their daughter was getting from support groups, teachers, classmates, and teammates.
Softball teammate Dupee, who lives in Marshfield with her sister Morgan and mother Jennifer, quietly acknowledging her moral and visible support of her teammate, said, “As I will be pursuing a future in the medical field, I thought this experience would give me a portion of real life experience of what a person goes through when afflicted with cancer. Kaitlyn is such an outgoing person. She doesn’t seem to let these matters or tight pitching situations bother her. I want to continue to be her teammate through all phases.”
Lexi’s mother wrapped it up by saying, “Kaitlyn is a funloving, upbeat character. With her attitude she perks up others when they are down. I am happy that my daughter can be part of that friendship.”