Carolyn Klingbeil will always be remembered for being a great teacher, role model, mother, friend and a "Warrior of Hope."
The East Rockaway woman who was raised in Malverne and taught Spanish at Malverne High School for 17 years passed away five years ago from breast cancer but her legacy continues to inspire others.
On Thursday, the school community held its annual breast cancer walk in her honor, inviting students, faculty, local residents and Klingbeil's friends and family to stroll or jog around the track at the high school while raising funds to find a cure. Teachers from Maurice W. Downing Primary School brought their students to the track earlier that day and in the afternoon, after dismissal, the event attracted students from the High School and Middle School sports teams, community service club and Honor Society, among others.
Now in its fourth year, the walk has raised more than $10,000 for the American Cancer Society, which presented one Klingbeil's daughters, Courtney, who circled the track that day with friends, with a framed T-Shirt. It read: "Warrior of Hope: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things in the fight against Breast Cancer."
Klingbeil was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40 and went into remission three times during her nearly 15 year battle. She left behind her husband of 34-years, Don, three daughters - Megan, Courtney, and Caitlin - and her parents, who still live in Malverne today and attend the walk each year.
"She was one of the nicest people," said Diane Pryor, a Math teacher at Malverne High School who coordinates the event each year with the Art Honor Society and Key Club. Anyone wishing to still make a donation in Klingbeil's name can do so by contacting Pryor through Malverne High School.
"She was not just my best friend, but our best friend," she added, gesturing to her fellow volunteers.
Paul Gruol, director of Special Events for the American Cancer Society, spoke a few words about Klingbeil as he presented the gift to her daughter. '"She was a role model to everyone whose life she touched and instilled the spirit to fight back and never ever give up hope. Her memory is an inspiration on how we should live our lives daily."