About Amy Covey
This single word hung on a sign in Amy Covey’s home, easily visible to her and to anyone who came to visit. Such a simple four letter word, but for Amy it embodied her whole being – not just in her fight with colon cancer, but in the way she approached life itself. Make the most of every minute, every relationship, every opportunity for enjoyment, every chance to help someone, every … well, you get the picture. “Live” to Amy didn’t just mean survive – it meant embracing life in all of its joy, glory, and pain, regardless of her personal circumstances. Amy’s zeal to “live” preceded her colon cancer diagnosis, but it became even more pronounced afterwards.
Amy grew up in Houston, Texas, graduating from Clear Lake High School in 1994. A volleyball scholarship took her to Tulane University. After completing her degree there in 1998, she lived and worked in New York City for the next nine years, earning a Masters in Education from St Johns University along the way. Amy was always searching for that most elusive combination: work that she enjoyed and that could also support her living in the City.
In April 2006, after emergency colon surgery, she was diagnosed with Stage 3c colon cancer. She began treatment in New York City at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital, but, in typical Amy style, at the same time had her eye on a graduate program in California ….
Amy loved photography. She had a great “eye” and worked hard to create wonderful images. Her dream was to make this her life’s work. During her initial treatment for colon cancer, she made the decision to leave New York and pursue a degree in photography at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara. In February 2007, she began classes at Brooks as well as bi-weekly chemo treatment at Cottage Hospital. Amy never complained about her workload and the chemo effects – she was exactly where she wanted to be and doing exactly what she had always wanted to do.
By early 2008, Amy appeared to be clear of any active metastases. 2008 was a wonderful year of hope, apparent remission and flat-out fun for Amy. Armed with her lifelong friends and some new ones made in Santa Barbara, Amy “lived” like there was no tomorrow. Her photography skills blossomed and she became a true artist. Brooks recognized her as their “Outstanding First Year Student”. A year’s worth of planning culminated in a trip to Burning Man 2008 (a trip she thought everyone should make).
Unfortunately, in January 2009, scans showed that her colon cancer had returned with a vengeance with widespread metastases. Surgery in early February marked the beginning of a rapid decline from which Amy never recovered – colon cancer metastases in her lower spine and its associated debilitating pain overcame her spirit and health and precluded her from resuming chemo or entering into a clinical trial. After being advised to seek hospice help, Amy elected to make one more painful and tearful trip from Houston to Colorado Springs, where she lived her last three weeks at the home of her parents. She died in May, 2009.