Through Philanthropic Foundation, Katherine’s Light Shines On

Katherine’s Light Foundation To Host Music Festival Fundraiser In June


From a young age, Katherine Mueller radiated light and positivity. As a child, she was a girly-girl: She loved frilly tutus and all things pink. To her mother Robin Sells’ amusement, she also loved bugs. Early on, her benevolence manifested in humor, generosity and a desire to make people happy. It would later evolve into relentless advocacy for people facing cancer diagnoses.

Katherine met her husband, Matt, while the two were attending Severna Park High School. After graduating from Towson University, Katherine spent her nine-year career teaching health-based classes to the community through Anne Arundel Medical Center (now Luminis Health). Katherine and Matt married in 2015 and began building a life together – they purchased their first home and became parents to a French bulldog named Luna.

Just days after bringing the pup home, though, their world – and that of their family and friends – was turned upside down. Katherine had been experiencing ongoing gastrointestinal issues and other symptoms for nearly a year. In November 2018, she was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumor. Cancer in her pancreas had metastasized to her liver. Tragically, the slow-growing disease had gone undetected for too long.

“It was a life-sentence as soon as we found out that it was cancer, that it was stage IV,” Matt said of his late wife’s diagnosis. Katherine’s stepfather, Larry Sells, who was a huge part of her life for nearly 20 years and is an account executive with the Severna Park Voice, compared receiving her diagnosis to “falling off a cruise ship in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico at midnight without a life jacket.”

Larry explained that little is known about the rare form of cancer, which affects roughly four in 100,000 adults according to the National Cancer Institute. The cause of neuroendocrine tumors is unknown.

“None of us had ever heard of it,” Matt emphasized, adding that once Katherine had a clear understanding of her prognosis, she shifted her focus to helping others. “She immediately turned it around and used it as a way to bring light to this rare cancer. Her whole goal was to save somebody else – another family – from going through this,” he said.

In August of 2019, Katherine and Larry spearheaded a fundraiser to benefit the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF), and the community response blew them away: The event drew roughly 550 people and generated over $73,000 for NETRF. Ultimately, they raised over $200,000 for the organization.

During her three-year battle with cancer, Katherine underwent chemotherapy, radiation, a liver transplant and other treatments. She continued to advocate for NET cancer patients and research, doing research of her own and helping to educate others who faced the same diagnosis. On December 27, 2021, she passed away peacefully at the age of 31, surrounded by loved ones and her beloved companion Luna.

In the months and years that followed, Larry explained, her passing cast a pall on birthdays and holidays. Ordinarily happy occasions became sad reminders of great loss. To help cope with grief, Larry resolved to do something that would again fan into flame Katherine’s bright light.

In 2023, he and Robin founded Katherine’s Light Foundation (KLF), a nonprofit that exists to not only honor her memory but also generate funds for NET cancer research and benefit organizations that deal with education, awareness, treatments and support that will lead to potential cures and assistance for those facing cancer diagnoses. KLF is run by a board of directors who knew and loved Katherine, including Larry, Robin, Matt and others.

“Losing anyone you love, but especially a child, you want them to be remembered,” Robin said. “Katherine had been such a positive force in the lives of so many people, and this was a way for her name to carry on – by us doing good deeds in her honor. The foundation has helped to repurpose sadness into a positive movement.”

Larry shared that KLF held an initial fundraiser in December 2023. The event generated $12,500, which was immediately dispersed to community organizations. Through KLF, Larry and Robin gave $5,000 to establish the Katherine Mueller Nursing Scholarship at Anne Arundel Community College, in honor of Katherine’s desire to be a nurse. They also donated $2,500 to the Wellness House of Annapolis, $2,500 to the BWMC Foundation’s Patient Care and Comfort Fund, and $2,500 to the Katherine Mueller NET Cancer Research Fund.

They are planning to host an all-day music festival on June 15 in Katherine’s memory to raise additional funds. The event will run from noon to 8:00pm at Severna Park Taphouse and will feature performances by local artists including The Crayfish, Red Betty & The Ruckus, Miggs Rangel and many others. Tickets are $25, and sponsorships are available from $200-$5,000. Proceeds from the music festival will support organizations that focus on education, awareness, treatments and individuals with cancer diagnoses.

To purchase tickets for the June fundraiser, or to learn more about the mission and work of Katherine’s Light Foundation, go to


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here