Mom, and dad, get gift as daughter receives high honor

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comMay 7, 2013 

— Mother’s Day is a celebration, not a competition. Which is probably good news for friends and neighbors of Carol Blackwell.

Blackwell, along with husband Ed, can claim one of the more unique accolades on a parenting resume. They’ve raised, by one account, one of the most influential people on the planet. Carol credits both of her daughters with their own success. Ed shares it a little more.

“They were both driven,” the River Hills retiree said of his daughters. “They both drove themselves. But (Carol) had a lot to do with it.”

The April 29 edition of Time magazine lists its 100 most influential people in the world. Among names like Barack Obama, Jimmy Kimmel, Pope Francis and Kim Jong Un is Duke University oncologist Kimberly Blackwell. She’s the eldest daughter of Ed and Carol, who moved to Lake Wylie 22 years ago.

Sherry Lansing, co-founder of Stand Up to Cancer, wrote the magazine profile of “one of the bright young stars” in cancer treatment and research. Kimberly Blackwell, 44, studies aggressive breast cancers and works with a “smart bomb” approach that ups the survival rate while reducing negative side effects, according to the profile.

“This disease has taken too many friends and loved ones,” Lansing wrote. “The brilliant work of Kimberly and scientists like her gives us real hope that we may, at last, be turning the corner in the fight against cancer.”

Ed Blackwell spent years in the pharmaceutical business, which meant extensive traveling. His wife was the one taking the girls to sports practices, dance, swimming and horse riding competitions. Now that the girls are grown – younger daughter Kristin Robinson is a nurse anesthetist living in Lake Wylie – it’s the former Real Estate broker mom who can feel a bit out of place.

“I feel like the black sheep of the family,” Carol said. “They sometimes get to talking about medicine, and I just sit there and say, OK.”

But both parents agree their daughters took more steering than pulling. Like when Kimberly considered veterinary medicine and Carol lined up a summer job with a vet, or when Kristin had to choose between medical training and business.

“They were always seekers,” Carol said. “They always wanted to know the answers.”

Having successful daughters, even with Kimberly’s recent recognition, doesn’t make Carol thinks she’s the perfect mom. She’s considered what she might do differently if she had her daughters to raise all over again.

“I would praise them more,” Carol said. “I would want to make them feel like they are the best. Keep them busy and praise them for everything they do. Keep their confidence high.”

Which is pretty much how Kristin recalls her childhood.

“They’ve extended supported with everything we wanted to do,” she said of her parents. “They went out of their way.”

Kimberly and Kristin each have two boys of their own. They talk daily, venting on work issues or personal ones. They emailed back and forth when Kimberly received the Time 100 news, debating whether it might be legitimate. Kristin said she couldn’t be prouder of her sister’s placement among giants in fields from chess to corporate space travel, matchmaking and social media.

Or of the support both sisters felt growing up, which deserves plenty of credit for the success they’ve both found.

“There were just no limits for us,” Kristin said.

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