Katherine Cannon Hughes, DO, always recognized the value of women to society.
As high school senior applying for college, she wrote an essay entitled: “The Women of Ferry Street” inspired by the lives of her mother and aunts who grew up on Ferry Street in Newark.
She completed a comparative research study on healthcare for teenage girls in the United States, Peru and France, and her devotion to women’s health led to her career as an OB/GYN.
Sadly, “Dr. Katie,” as she was fondly known, passed away in November at the age of 36 after a courageous battle against acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
In her memory, her husband, Wray Hughes, DO, and her mother, Lynne Cannon, established the Dr. Katherine Cannon Hughes Women Physicians Education Fund at Cooper University Health Care.
“All Katie ever wanted to do was be doctor, take care of women and teach other doctors,” said Wray, who is anesthesiologist at Cooper. “Medicine has always been a male dominated field, even in obstetrics and gynecology.
“When I thought of what Katie would want us to do in her memory,” Wray continued. “I knew it had to be something that helps women in furthering their medical careers.”
Wray and Katie met when they were medical students in 2009 and married in 2013. Their sons Jackson and Harrison are 3 and 2.
Even in the most trying times, Katie was a pillar of grace and hope, who never let anything get her down, Lynne said.
“When Katie entered the world, she had joy in her face,” said Lynne. “I knew from the day she was born she was a force of nature.”
Lynne recalled a time when Katie, who as a young girl was a talented figure skater, took a bad fall on the ice and got up bloodied and bruised. Rather than call it quits for the day, Katie got back in the rink, determined to succeed.
That was her.
Warm, bubbly and kind, Katie formed bonds quickly and had a natural ability to make people feel like they were the most important in the room.
She was a fervent feminist, who was committed to supporting and mentoring other women.
“Mentoring and caring for women was going to shape what she was going to do in life,” said Lynne. “She would have great pride in her name being attached to an initiative to support women’s education.”
Before she became ill, Katie joined New Beginnings, an OB/GYN practice in Springfield, NJ, realizing her dream of providing care for women and delivering babies.
The practice is located just outside of Newark, less than 15 miles from Ferry Street –the same street where she first learned from her mother and aunts about power, strength and the importance of supporting and educating other women.
To make a donation to the Dr. Katherine Cannon Hughes Women Physicians Education Fund at Cooper and continue Katie’s mission to improve and support healthcare for women, click here.
To learn more about making a gift in memory or honor of a loved one, click here.