Vale Katie Cox

A hugely popular and respected member of the harness racing community, Katie Cox has lost her battle with a rare form of lung cancer.

The 34-year-old died in Christchurch yesterday.

"It is with the heaviest of broken hearts our loved Katie passed peacefully away this morning," Katie's mother Wendy Cox wrote on Facebook.

"She approached cancer and the myriad of drugs she took to get through this with determination, integrity and tenacity."

"The high dose of steroids she was on to deal with the toxicity in her lungs showed a form of pneumonia on Monday from the blood test and CT scan. That night she started on strong antibiotics and knew the next four days were going to be difficult to get through."

"As determined as she was, and being on direct oxygen and concentrators her lungs struggled with getting enough oxygen and she passed away peacefully this morning."

Since her diagnosis last year Cox had massive support from the harness racing community, and others. Thanks to a fund-raising effort co-ordinated by close friend and mental health advocate Craig Wiggins over $340,000 was raised to help Cox get the medication she needed.

"Katie brought us all together in her journey and it's important that we all support each other and her closest the most," Wiggins posted on Facebook, "we know this is a shock to you all and the hurt will be deep and the loss you feel real."

Cox was humbled and extremely grateful for all that support. Just three weeks ago she said: "it's incredible. I can't emphasise enough how grateful I am for everything, the texts, the calls. People have been wonderful."

Her comments came after she drove her own horse Spy Da Moment to win a trial at Ashburton. At the time she said her health had taken a turn for the worse but she remained optimistic.

Since news of her death was made public there has been an outpouring of sympathy with many taking to social media in particular to offer their condolences.

Many spoke of their sadness and of Cox's bravery throughout the last few months.

"A beautiful soul taken far too soon," said one.

Others included : "Katie's infectious smile and laughter is how we will remember her, plus her amazing horse and handling skills and passion for hard work!"

"Such a lovely kind and happy person gone way too soon."

"A true fighter"

Harness Racing New Zealand would also like to send its deepest condolences to the Cox family.

Anyone heading to the races in the next week is now being asked to wear blue and white armbands in recognition of Cox's racing colours or to wear black.

"Let's do her proud," posted Wiggins.

Since 2012 Cox had 37 training and 108 driving wins with her biggest moment being her Group 2 success in 2023 when she trained and drove It's Tough to win the Welcome Stakes at Addington.

Arrangements for Cox's funeral have yet to be finalised.

If anyone in the sport needs to talk to anyone there are support systems in place through :

On Track Wellbeing Support Line - 0800667224

Andrew McKerrow
Racetrack Support Chaplain
Mobile: 029 771 2398
Email : [email protected]

Or Vitae (a free counselling service provided to Licence-holders)

Call 0508 664 981 24/7 or complete the online referral form here

 

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