FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A good thing has been a long time coming for Kathy Robinson.
She feels 39 at heart, but the 59-year-old has had to fight for that attitude.
Three years ago in Utah, her husband passed away on their shared birthday. She was devastated. Even more difficult, she knew she was sick, too, but she didn't want to cause more pain for her children by letting them know. Robinson has been a foster parent to nearly 35 kids, on top of raising six of her own. She has mentored, nurtured and cared for children with special needs and delinquent pasts.
Robinson said she had a type of cancer in which tumors never developed, even though she had it since her teen years. She was always healthy, she said, occasionally catching the common cold.
"As I got older and older, it just decided to invade my body," she said.
When she finally went to the doctor in June 2010, breast cancer had spread around her body — into her lymph nodes and back.
Doctors operated immediately and she began chemotherapy treatments. Doctors said she should only expect to live three more months.
She said she couldn't allow that to happen.
"I chose to get up, put my shoes on and go outside," she said. "I really bounced back because I wanted to."
After chemotherapy, there were no more traces of the cancer in her body.
Things started to get better for Robinson. She met Steve from Minnesota, and the couple married in July last year. They decided to move to Alaska in August "for an adventure."
That month, at the couple's new home in North Pole, Robinson was surfing the web when she came across a Ford contest called the "Focus on Five Sweepstakes." The national contest's grand prize was a 2012 Warriors in Pink Edition Ford Focus. She entered the contest online, saved the bookmark and nearly forgot about it.
"I got a phone call in December at 4 o'clock in the morning," she said, and was told she won the Ford contest. She said something along the lines of "OK," and hung up.
Then she immediately thought, "I better call them back, I'm not sure what they said."
On Wednesday, Robinson and her husband arrived at the Seekins Ford dealership and accepted the keys to a freshly washed, silver Ford Focus. She climbed into the passenger seat and rubbed the dashboard as the dealership owner, Ralph Seekins, told her about the car.
"I can't believe this," she said. "It doesn't happen to people like me. You could pinch me all you want. I'm numb. I couldn't feel it."
Steve was on hand to catch every moment of Robinson's reaction on video.
Afterward, Robinson mentioned that it was tough to deal with Alaska's 50-degrees-below-zero temperatures,
She pointed at Steve and said, "He's used to this stuff."
"I'm not used to winning cars, no," he said.
Later, she took the car home to her three current foster children, ages 12, 16 and 16.
The family of five will fit perfectly, she said.
Information from: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com