Riverside School District Mom, Kim Owens, Honors Her Late Husband Through Cancer Fundraisers

From left to right: Karen M. Saunders, President, Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, Luke Russomano, Mason Owens, Mady Owens, Grace Sochovka and Mr. Dave Walsh, Riverside Elementary East Principal.

Kim Owens is a Riverside School District mother who knows all too well about colon cancer. Kim’s husband, Dennis, died of colon cancer at a young age. Despite her grief, Kim has continued to honor Dennis every day.

Dennis was tenacious and believed in giving back and so does Kim. She continues to make a difference in her community and is an example for her children. She had a support team when her family was in need, and she wants to provide support to others. Kim also wants to raise awareness about early detection and screening as her children may be in a high-risk group for colon cancer as they become adults due to their family history.

Kim Owens

Kim and her children, Mason and Mady, started a C.A.S.U.A.L. Day team to honor him. Their team’s name is “Team Capt. Dennis Owens Jr.” They started participating in 2013 by promoting the team on their Facebook page and asking family and friends to support them by purchasing a C.A.S.U.A.L. Day t-shirt. Throughout the years, the team has grown and since Kim’s children are in the Riverside School District, she wanted them to be able to participate more too. This year, the school designed and sold their own colon cancer awareness t-shirt and donated the proceeds to support the work of the Cancer Institute. The t-shirts were sold to students, teachers, and families. Several families in the Riverside school district have been affected by colon cancer. Proceeds from the C.A.S.U.A.L. Day benefitted NRCI’s efforts to raise colorectal cancer awareness and
support colorectal cancer screenings for low income, un/underinsured individuals.

In addition to Kim starting the C.A.S.U.A.L. Day team in 2013, she also established the Capt. Dennis Owens Jr. Memorial Scholarship through an organization called Vikings Helping Vikings. The Capt. Dennis Owens Jr. Softball Tournament began in September 2013. To date, Kim has awarded over $25,000 in scholarships to students. This year, award scholarships were given to three Riverside senior students to recognize them for their acts of community service at Riverside’s Class Day. Another student scholarship was given through Vikings Helping Vikings. All of Kim’s efforts keep Dennis’ memory alive and give back to the community. Kim’s children meet someone new yearly and they share memories and stories about Dennis.