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Andrea Christine Bender Kemp, 37, passed away Monday, September 30, 2013, following a 12 1/2-year battle with breast cancer. Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, on November 22, 1975, she was the daughter of David and Julia Bender. She was a graduate of Columbus North High School and earned degrees from Valparaiso University and the University of South Carolina. Andrea was married to Eric Kemp July 29, 2000.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25, Andrea fast became an advocate, pioneer and missionary in the local breast cancer community. She founded Second Chances, one of the first local support groups for young women diagnosed with breast cancer, and went on to organize and lead the Young Survival Coalition Columbia Affiliate and, later, the YSC Palmetto PALS support group. Through her ongoing efforts, Andrea connected hundreds of young breast cancer survivors by organizing monthly events, newsletters and creating and selling her signature beaded jewelry to raise funds for the breast cancer community. She was especially passionate about reaching out to those diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer.
A lover of animals, she was also a volunteer and advocate for a local animal rescue center and was instrumental in the adoption of many cats and kittens, fostering many kittens herself.
She was a former member of River Springs Church and a current partner of East Lake Community Church. She was the lead financial analyst at US Fuel Finance for Westinghouse and was an avid photographer.
Survivors are her parents, David and Julia of Columbia, S.C.; her husband, Eric Kemp; and brother, Drew Bender of Carl Junction, Mo. She is also survived by her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Erica and Michael Kemp.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Andrea's honor to YSC at http://www.youngsurvival.org, or to Animal Rescue Carolina Inc. at http://arc.rescuegroups.org/info/donate.