In the candlelit parish hall of St. Paul Chong Hasang Church, more than 250 friends and family members of Teresa Young attended her surprise 62nd birthday party Sunday afternoon
Teresa Young, a longtime Killeen resident who is battling stage 4 breast cancer, entered the party in a state of shock.
At first, unable to say more than “oh my goodness” and “thank you,” she was quickly enveloped in hugs from guests.
She began her address to the crowd by calling out faces she recognized across the room.
“You don’t know what life is going to give you,” she said at the gathered crowd, “but life has given me this. It means more than you’ll ever know.”
A slideshow displayed family photographs on the wall and a birthday cake was adorned with pink roses, a detail Young had always desired, said her sister-in-law Peggy Murphey.
“Theresa always wanted a surprise party,” Murphey said. This year was the perfect time to throw one.
Young’s mother, father and brother attended the party, as well as two sisters-in-law and a number of extended family members.
“The town is her family,” Murphey said.
Community member attendees included the Exchange Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and Young’s church group and Sunday school class.
“She’s a woman loved by everyone,” said her son, Jarrod Young.
Friends and family came from as far as Las Vegas, New York, Louisiana and Oklahoma for the party.
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” said longtime friend Barbara West. “She’s an inspiration to all women.”
Her husband, former Killeen City Councilman Dick Young, was overwhelmed with emotion at the size of the crowd.
“Looking around this room, it’s like a mosaic of our life,” he said. His wife is still strong and faring well despite her disease, he said.
After her son led the group in a rendition of “Happy Birthday,” the cake was cut and attendees lined up to greet the guest of honor.
“It’s marvelous,” Dick Young said of the party. “I’m happy we were able to pull it off.”