APPLETON, Wis. — “We come out to the Sole Burner every year,” said April Hershman who was at the run/walk with her daughter Mackenzie Kropidlowski.
Hershman remembers her father during the event who died of cancer 13 years ago while celebrating her own fight against cancer six years ago.
This weekend, Hershman and Kropidlowski crossed the finish line in a race that means so much to them.
Next weekend, they’ll be crossing another finish line together, walking across the stage at college graduation.
“I’m so excited for it,” said Kropidlowski, “we’re finishing a lot of chapters together.”
But the plan wasn’t always for them to share a commencement stage.
When both UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater’s graduations fell on the same day, Hershman said it was an easy decision. She would skip her own graduation day to watch her daughter walk across the stage.
“My family always comes first, and so for me, the choice was we’ll see you at whitewater, and we’ll be there rooting for you,” added Hershman.
Although Kropidlowski said she was grateful her mom would do that, she wasn’t going to let it happen after her mom spent nearly ten years working on her degree.
Kropidlowski asked the school if her mother could join her on graduation day, and now, the two will be crossing yet another finish line together.
“For her to reach out on my behalf was just a really selfless act that anyone could do so I was very honored and I couldn’t believe it,” said Hershman.
“I’m extremely proud I mean I couldn’t think of anyone else that deserves this more than her,” added Kropidlowski.
Kropidlowski said her mom is her hero, and she tries to be the kind of person she sees her mom being.
While Herman said Kropidlowski’s hard work is what often helped her stay motivated.
“For her to think that she follows in my footsteps, I follow in her footsteps, as well,” said Hershman.
Both of them are excited to share a special milestone together.
“Walking across the finish line of finishing college and graduating and starting a new chapter is awesome,” said Kropidlowski.