Gone too soon: CSC remembers Kara Kennedy and Eleanor Poling

Two daughters of renowned Democratic politicians – both of whom faced cancer, both at just 51 years of age – died on September 17th. Kara Kennedy, daughter of late Senator Edward M. Kennedy died of a heart attack. Kennedy was a lung cancer survivor, and it is suspected that harsh treatment received to treat the disease may have weakened her heart. Eleanor Mondale Poling, daughter of former Vice President Walter Mondale, died after a long battle with brain cancer. Both women had often played very public roles and danced in and out of the media spotlight as minor celebrities. However, neither woman was very outspoken about her cancer diagnosis. Both retired from the spotlight after their diagnosis and chose to spend time with family and friends.

Mondale had worked at a Minneapolis radio station until she experienced a recurrence of her brain cancer in 2009. She is publicly known as a radio host and minor actress, and stumped for her father during his campaign against Ronald Reagan in 1984. Kennedy helped run her father’s reelection campaign in 1988 and then dedicated herself to charitable causes later in her life including serving as a board member for the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Edward Kennedy discussed his daughter’s lung cancer diagnosis in his memoir. He described her refusal to accept her condition as inoperable and her subsequent remission.

CSC appreciates the spirit and sense of activism exhibited by both of these women. Our thoughts are with their families during this difficult time of loss.


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