Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tina Smithers and Katie Rensing, event co-chairs for Relay for Life of KCMO, answer The Pitch's questionnaire

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 7:48 AM

click to enlarge Katie Rensing and Tina Smithers, event co-chairs for Relay for Life of KCMO - SABRINA STAIRES
  • Sabrina Staires
  • Katie Rensing and Tina Smithers, event co-chairs for Relay for Life of KCMO

What's your occupation?
: Freelance writer
Rensing: I guess I also work at Hallmark in my free time.

Where's your hometown?
Smithers and Rensing
: Independence

What's your current neighborhood?
: Lower Hyde Park
Rensing: South Plaza

Explain what you do (in 140 characters).
Smithers and Rensing
: Organize a 12-hour, citywide party each spring that celebrates survivors, remembers those we've lost and fights back against the disease.

What's your addiction?
: Local coffee shops
Rensing: Chipotle; those stupid coin-pusher games; and my cat, Bingo

What's your game?
: Texas hold 'em, though my poker face sucks.
Rensing: Cards Against Humanity. My friends are wildly inappropriate.

What's your drink?
: Iced snickerdoodle latte from Mildred's Coffeehouse
Rensing: Coffee, red wine, Jameson - not necessarily in that order

Where's dinner?
: Garozzo's
Rensing: I love to cook, but if you could just drop me off on Southwest Boulevard, that would be great. I'm also a sucker for Gram & Dun and Port Fonda.

What's on your KC postcard?
: The location of this year's Relay for Life: Berkley Riverfront Park!
Rensing: So many options! It has to include the view from the Scout, overlooking the city skyline at sunset. I also love the grittiness of the West Bottoms - the graffiti and train tracks. And maybe a tiny image of my cat, in the distance, waving a Royals flag. Yep, perfect.

Finish this sentence: "Kansas City got it right when ... "
: They decided to provide housing to local cancer patients and their families through the downtown Hope Lodge.
Rensing: It decided to revitalize downtown. I remember living there when I first moved back from college, and it was a ghost town. Now, there are businesses, bars, restaurants - life! The new streetcar will be a great addition as well!

"Kansas City screwed up when ... "
: It shut down America's Pub. Just kidding.
Rensing: It let its public school system fail. It's really sad that people are moving out of the city because they have nowhere to send their kids for a decent education. I really hope that has changed by the time I have children.

"Kansas City needs ... "
: More cancer survivors and less loved ones lost to the disease.
Rensing: To stop defending itself. We're a great city with such amazing local talent from art, music, restaurants and startups. We introduced Google Fiber, won the MLS Cup, hosted the All-Star Game and Big 12 tournament. The list goes on. I won't apologize for loving my city.

"In five years, I'll ... "
Smithers and Rensing
: Still be fighting to put an end to cancer, and we'll keep at it until the day our friends and family never have to worry about hearing the words, "You have cancer."

"I always laugh at ... "
: My ol' man.
Rensing: Really dumb jokes and commercials. What's brown and sticky? A stick. Classic.

"I've been known to binge-watch ... "
: Breaking Bad, The Office.
Rensing: Breaking Bad, The Wire, Luther, Downton Abbey, House of Cards. Binge - watching is a slippery slope.

"I can't stop listening to ... "
: Local musicians Andrew Bruns, Lauren Anderson and the Chad Abernathy Band. You can see them all play at this year's Relay for Life event!
Rensing: The Inside Llewyn Davis soundtrack or anything resembling that.

"I just read ... "
: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Rensing: We Are Water by my favorite, Wally Lamb. I think he's the only author to ever make me cry, which is an accomplishment.

What's the best advice you ever got?
: "Let it be," from my mom, who passed away from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1998. She probably heard it from Paul 
Rensing: "Question authority." My dad taught us never to settle for the status quo. Just because this is the way things have always been doesn't mean they're right.

Worst advice?
: "Let it be." Telling a worrywart (me) to just "let it be" is like telling a cat to steer clear of Fancy Feast. I got it tattooed on my arm anyway.
Rensing: "Question authority." You can understand how this advice has also gotten me into some trouble over the years.

Who's your sidekick?
: When it comes to helping plan Relay, it's Katie! She's my rock and voice of reason. Otherwise, a tie between my boyfriend, Zach, and my cat, Sophie Sassypants.
Rensing: During Relay season, it's Tina. We use every form of communication multiple times a day. I wouldn't survive without her. Outside of that, it's a pretty close tie between my boyfriend, Matt, and my cat. If he wasn't allergic to her, and she had proper identification, we'd all be inseparable.

What was a dating triumph?
: I'm a recovering alcoholic who met the love of her life on New Year's Eve at Kelly's Westport Inn. Irony.
Rensing: My boyfriend and I moved in together after dating for about two months. Everyone thought we were crazy, but a year later we're only crazy about each other. Triumph!

Have you had a brush with fame?
: Twelve years ago, I ran into Dave Coulier at that same Kelly's, and I asked him in a chipmunk voice, "Do you have any wood?" That time, I was drunk.
Rensing: I have a friend named Bruce Campbell ... does that count? I also ran into Jason Sudeikis twice in one month. I think he's following me - sorry, Olivia.

What's your 140-character soapbox?
Smithers and Rensing
: Eight thousand people in KC are diagnosed with cancer each year. More than half of those can be prevented by making healthier choices. Don't smoke, eat well, exercise and get screened!

What was the last thing you had to apologize for?
: The mantel, for bumping into it. I'm clumsy.
Rensing: I'm sure I told a "too soon" joke. Sorry, not sorry.

Who's sorry now?
Smithers: New York City, because I left it three years ago to return home to KC, and I've never been happier!
Rensing: Anyone who tries to talk to me pre-coffee

What's a recent triumph?
and Rensing: Everything the Relay for Life of KCMO planning committee has accomplished this year! We're excited to see it pay off on May 3.

This year's Relay for Life of KCMO, benefiting the American Cancer Society, is Saturday, May 3, at Berkley Riverfront Park. For more info or to get involved, see

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