DWRC lost one of its brightest lights late this summer, when Katy “Cully”
Cullinan ’08 took her own life. Cully
was a beautiful, caring girl with a sharp wit and impeccable comic timing, a
gifted and passionate athlete, and an inquisitive and engaging student. Most incredibly, she had a social grace which
opened the hearts of those around her, and an integrity of soul which left a
the last 8 of her 22 years, Katherine struggled with an eating disorder; at
first very privately and then with the support of her family. Despite the physical and mental toll which
each bout of the disease took on her, she fought back repeatedly with a quiet
bravery and tenacity which inspired her parents and sister. In 2007 she participated on a Dartmouth
Medical School panel on eating disorders, sharing with a large audience
intimate and painful insights into the life of an eating-disordered
person. She afterward said it was her
duty to help others understand the disease…(from funeral program notes on
current and recently graduated DWRC members attended the funeral mass in
Wellesley, MA, and were truly inspired by Mr. Cullinan’s brave words about his
objective measures, Katy was winning her fight.
Too slowly to suit her, of course, because everything had to be “now”
with Katy, but winning nonetheless. She
was just too impatient with herself, too hard on herself. So if you would honor her memory, then remember her example of tenacity and progress, forgive her this act of
impatience with herself, and never, never be afraid to reach out to those who
DWRC grew much closer as a team as we struggled to process Cully’s death. We bonded in a way that would have taken more
years than we have together. Mr.
Cullinan’s words, along with memories of Cully, still resonate in our team
interactions. This experience continues
to be a part of the fabric of our team culture – it has fundamentally changed
us in a positive way. I know that Katy
would be heartened that memories of her life have caused us to care more deeply
about each other, and to make more effort to connect with one another.
would have loved our team this year.
They are, truly, “warrior princesses” – beautiful girls with a fierce
competitiveness and love of life. They
are quick to laugh and joke, but they are fun to watch because they are such
great runners and great fighters. They
are on the “light” side for rugby players, so they sometimes get flung around,
but they always get up ready to fight harder.
This is, truly, Katy’s kind of team, and I think of her sometimes while
I am watching our matches – how she would fearlessly throw her little body in
front of much larger opponents in order to stop them from scoring tries. I am also reminded of her as a young
first-year student – with obvious potential and athletic ability, but more than
anything with a whole lot of moxie and sass.
you are missed and deeply mourned by all of us.
But so much of your spirit has been present in this fall’s team that I
can’t tell you how many times I expected to see you walk up from the locker
room and onto Battle Field for practice – with those pink cleats, bare legs
sticking out of baggy shorts, hands in the pockets of your fur-trimmed parka
and eyes sparkling as you crack a perfect joke and the other girls around you
explode with laughter. You will never be
forgotten, and your spirit will always be cherished by the DWRC.