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Meet Our Team

Michelle Wittenburg

Foundation President

KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s President, Michelle Wittenburg is an attorney and lobbyist with over 20 years of experience with all three branches of government. She graduated with honors from law school and has significant political experience with statewide and legislative campaigns. After practicing with a large firm and becoming a partner in another, she now has her own governmental affairs and political consulting firm, Wittenburg & Associates. Michelle is also a fifth-generation Texan, raised on her family’s 125 year old Central Texas ranch, where she feeds her lifelong fixation on all things equine.

When her best friend, Andrea Sloan, experienced a recurrence of ovarian cancer and was told by her trusted oncologist that her last resort for continuing her life was to try an experimental drug, Michelle helped Andrea navigate what is called the “compassionate use” system and determined that the system was anything but compassionate or widely used, really only offering false hope to the terminally ill. Their nationwide campaign saw Andrea and her army of thousands of volunteers fight for months to get the drug recommended by her physician team. After her seven and a half year battle with ovarian cancer, Andrea's body ceased responding to traditional chemotherapy and radiation. She was repeatedly denied access to the needed drug by a pharmaceutical company without reason but was ultimately granted use of a non-FDA approved drug by another pharmaceutical company. Unfortunately, this process - combined with the additional months the FDA took to process the necessary paperwork - took its toll on Andrea’s health. After taking the drug for a little over two months, scans indicated that the experimental drug was working, as there was no sign of cancer, but only fourteen days later and in an especially cruel twist, Andrea died from complications of pneumonia because her body was too weak to fight off the illness.

“If Andrea could have timely obtained the drug that did prove to be effective, she would have had a much better chance to continue beating the disease, but the compassionate use system in place failed her – and it continues to fail many others similarly situated. Unfortunately, ovarian cancer is a death sentence for most women, and no woman who is fighting for her life should have to simultaneously wage war against antiquated laws and bureaucratic red tape in both the private and public sector.  When Andrea was her sickest, she would say, ‘When I get better, we can’t forget this fight – we must change the system for the benefit of others in the future.’ Andrea’s battle lit a fire across America and the nation, and KK125 has taken up her banner with its mission to advance the treatments of and cure for ovarian cancer and to reform the compassionate use system.  We at KK125 use a multi-pronged approach to achieve our goals, but one in which we are particularly adept is modernizing laws in a manner that shows our country’s respect for women and their health and the terminally ill.  We simply won’t stand by and leave our wounded warriors to die on the battlefield – we at KK125 will do all we can to equip women, the terminally ill and the families of both with the tools necessary to live long and healthy lives.”


George J. "Jerry" Kacal, Jr.

Vice President

George J. "Jerry" Kacal, Jr.: Jerry is an attorney, investor and rancher. As a director of Integrity Bank, he serves as Chairman of the Board and is a member of the Executive Committee and Chairman of the Executive Loan Committee. He is a former board member of Pearland Independent School District and former member of the Advisory Board of Houston National Bank. Mr. Kacal was a memeber of the American Board of Trial Advocates, and is a member of the State Bar of Texas. Mr. Kacal has a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree of Texas A&M University [1968] and a law degree from the University of Houston Bates College of Law [1971].

Jerry married the LOVE of his life, Linda Kacal on June 26, 1966 and lost Linda to Ovarian Cancer on July 31, 2013 after 47 wonderful and blessed years of marriage.

He has 5 wonderful grandchildren.


Kimberly Aufill

Foundation Secretary

Kimberly Aufill is KK125's Secretary. She graduated from Southwestern College in 2008 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in radio and television production and obtained her Master’s of Science in Leadership in 2010. She married her husband, Peyton Aufill, in August 2015.

In 2011, she moved back home to Canadian, Texas, to work for her grandparents, Buddy and Paulette King. The family dabbled in all sorts of things - from bucking bulls to antiques - so life was always an adventure, and the three of them were always going somewhere together. Sadly, that all changed in 2012 when Paulette was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer and Kimberly, along with her grandpa Buddy, quickly shifted gears into fulltime caretakers. Now their time was spent making trips to MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, for chemotherapy and various procedures over the next year and a half. On September 12, 2013, Paulette lost her battle with ovarian cancer. Once it was decided that there would be a foundation in memory of her grandmother and two other women who died from the disease, there was no question that Kimberly would transition her grief into being a part of something bigger to help other women and families through this horrific disease.

“My grandma was such a private person. If we ever get to Heaven, we are probably in trouble for telling her story to any and every one who will listen; on the other hand, I hope she’s incredibly proud that we persevered through her death. Losing her has been our greatest loss, but we’ve refused to be defeated by it. She was the best of all of us, so we have tried to be better because of her example.”


Kyle Kacal

Founder

Kyle Kacal is the State Representative for House District 12 and is currently serving his second term as a member of the Texas Legislature.  His legislative district is comprised of five counties:  Falls, Robertson, and Limestone with portions of Brazos and McLennan counties. Representative Kacal currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Rules & Resolutions Committee, and as a member of the House Committee on Environmental Regulation as well as the House Natural Resources Committee.

Representative Kacal is a rancher and long-time resident of Brazos County. Following his graduation from Texas A&M University in 1992 and the receipt of his Certificate of Ranch Management from Texas Christian University, Representative Kacal has devoted his life to preserving the land and contributing to local and state economies through his dynamic ranching business, Tonkaway Ranch. His ranch operates as a large-scale cattle business and also serves as a full-service hunting business during the fall and spring.

Representative Kacal and his wife, Marci, have two children: Carter who attends Texas A&M Galveston and Kendall, who attends Allen Academy in Bryan.

"After the devastating loss of my mother, we decided that there was no better time like the present to step up the battle against this silent killer of our mothers, daughters and  friends. And because education and research are revolutionizing our understanding of ovarian cancer, I am incredibly proud of the work that KK125 has done to educate, fund, and advance the treatments and cures of ovarian cancer."


Ken King

Founder

Ken King is currently serving his second term as State Representative for House District 88. His district includes 17 counties in the Panhandle and the South Plains of Texas. He currently serves on the House Public Education, Environmental Regulation, Administration and Calendars committees as well as the Energy Council. He also has been appointed to the House Research Organization Board of Directors as well as the Republican Caucus Policy Committee. Additionally, Ken is also a member of the Rural, Republican, Energy and Sportsmen’s Caucuses.

Prior to his election to the Texas House of Representatives, Ken served on the School Board for Canadian Independent School District for over five years, presiding as President for half of that tenure. He was a board member of the Hemphill County Appraisal District's Executive Board for over four years and served as chairman of that board for over three years. He was also President of the local YMCA Board and coached youth soccer and football. Ken is President of Black Gold Pump and Supply Inc., in Canadian.

Ken has been active in organizations related to his energy service businesses, including the American Petroleum Institute, Panhandle Producers and Royalty Owners Association, Association of Energy Services Company and the Independent Producers Association of America. Ken King is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, a member of the Texas Rifle Association, a member of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association as well as a member of the Texas Farm Bureau.

Ken was born and raised in Canadian, Texas. His wife, Robin, grew up in neighboring town, Miami. Ken and Robin are busy raising their two children who both attend public school in Canadian. They are active members of the First United Methodist Church in Canadian and the KK125 Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation.