Dr. Umesh Jain is now exclusively responsible for TotallyADD.com and its content

Our friend Kate Kelly

A legendary pioneer in the world of adult ADHD, Kate Kelly, has passed away. After a full and rich life she lost a long battle with cancer. Thousands of people had the pleasure of knowing Kate in person and having their lives made better for the experience. If you have seen Kate through our online videos and our programs, you’ll know her as a wise, generous, crusader for the cause. Kate is best known to ADDers for, “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!” She co-wrote this amazing book with Peggy Ramundo, when there was little information or acceptance around ADHD in adults.  Putting out the book took a pioneer spirit, courage and audacity. It became the first bestseller to explore adult ADHD/ADD in a comprehensive way. As Kate told me, “There was nothing out there so we felt like we have to cover everything.” Published on a shoestring, even before the legendary ‘Driven To Distraction’ hit the shelves, it brims with humor and humanity. If you don’t own a copy, get one. To read the book is to know Kate and Peggy. To see her in our videos is to sense her kindness and commitment. I only met her once, when I interviewed her for our documentary ADD & Loving It?! At first she was a little wary of a comedian talking about a subject she had devoted her life to healing. I’m sure she was concerned we were going to mock the disorder. As we spoke, she quickly relaxed, and soon had us both in tears. In the three hours we spent together talking I was impressed by her knowledge and her determination. And by how much she loved her family. We still have footage that we will be sharing from that long conversation. My wife Ava never had the pleasure of meeting Kate in person, but because Kate’s book was part of the first PBS ‘premium pledge package’ they spoke many times. They bonded instantly and Kate once said to me, “I wish I had an Ava.” Kate was down to earth, accepting, and open. But not a pushover. She was driven by a strong sense of justice and a desire to make a difference. And she did. As a nurse and then an author, coach, minister, and many other roles. Many thanks to our friend and blogger Zoë Kessler, who called this morning in tears to share the sad news.  Ava and I are so sad. Kate, you will be missed. And all of us left behind will be called upon to step up and fill the space that you have left.  This world will never be the same now that you are gone and this world will never be the same because of you. Love, Rick & Ava
Suggested Posts


  1. Peacock September 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Sorry to hear this. We need more people like her. Thank s for letting us know.

  2. fatcat3 September 14, 2012 at 2:33 pm

    I am sad for loss of kate. i loved hearing her speak her voice was filled with knowledge and compassion. As soon as i heard her speak my attention went to her. i know this is hard on her family and all of her passionate friends who have made this totally add site such a blessing for me and so many.Thanks kate for all you have done to help us. Donna Bland

  3. klbro September 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Thank you Rick and Ava for your lovely tribute to Kate Kelly. She certainly was everything you describe… I took the coach training program that she and her best friend, Peggy Ramundo, created. They were a terrific team. Like you, Ava, I didn’t get to see her in person as the program was distance education, with classes done by teleconference. So after speaking with Kate for 2+ hours a week for the better part of a year, she became my mentor and I learned a lot about her. She was, as you have observed, wise and compassionate, determined and pioneering. As a teacher and mentor, she was genuine, caring, encouraging, and inspiring. Her soulmate Paul spoke on many of the calls and between them, we learned that she knew what was important in life. She cherished her family and friends, and believed in peace, love and acceptance. She was a beautiful, spiritual woman, a wonderful warm personality, and she will be missed. I’m lucky to have known her; I can still hear her voice as I read her Lazy, Crazy book and other insightful writings. She’s gone way too soon…

  4. klmillscats September 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Rick, thank you for introducing my husband and me to Kate Kelly through “ADD And Loving It”. And to Rick and Ava, thank you so much for your tribute to her. Her gentle wisdom and humor, along with her no-nonsense perspective, added much insight to our understanding of ADD. Her impact in the unveiling of ADD, along with Rick, Ava, Patrick, and Janice, have made life changing revelations to countless people; both with ADD and those who support ADD family and co-workers. She will be missed.

  5. kaotic kelly September 15, 2012 at 12:23 am

    Wow….. this is so sad to hear? I have her book and have seen her videos and interviews.
    I will keep her family and friends in my prayers! They should know she touched many people with her helpful advice! Thanks for letting us all know. RIP KATE…. :-(

  6. Scattybird September 15, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Thanks Rick for letting us all know this sad news. There are so few people out there that really know how to help those with ADHD, that losing someone who did so much ‘for the cause’ is a loss. Apart from that, it’s sad to lose a kind and caring person so prematurely.

  7. Amy September 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

    I’m very sad to hear the news. “You Mean I’m Not” is my favorite ADHD book. Prayers to her family & friends. She will definitely be missed.

  8. addcoachdiane September 15, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Thanks Rick and Ava, for the tribute and the memories.
    Kate & Peggie’s book was such a wonderful, honest & courageous gift for all of us who had ADHD at a time when it was not so well known.
    As an ADHD adult, a woman, and a recovering alcoholic I felt a special kinship with Kate, her humanity and experience came through, both in her books and the video’s for ADD & loving it..I sadly never got to know her personally, but I feel that if we had met we would have had that instant connection.
    I still quote her today when doing workshops or presentations on ADHD, when she talked about how when people with ADHD self medicate or fall into addictions, they are just looking to feel
    God Bless you Kate, thanks for the gifts…
    Thanks Rick and Ava for your part in showcasing such a person…

  9. GoodNuzz September 15, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Very sorry to hear this sad news. I just purchased the book after seeing the PBS program. I wish I had bought the package. I was too impatient, so I bought the book off an EBook site.

  10. D Jane September 15, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    So sorry to Kate and her family. Thank you for being wonderful pioneer for many people as we continue to learn about this. It made me cry as she had said what having ADD meant to her. I am 54 and I too lost my self esteem very early on. I am working really hard to find it again – I am sorry she had to leave so early but I am thankful to have found her book as this is how I felt my whole life….Lazy, crazy and stupid…. You hear it enough it begins to define you, whether you want it to or not. May she now be at peace.

  11. Robbo September 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    I am with you guys in expressing my gratitude for Kate, and the sadness and great loss to our community. We will not forget you Kate.
    Take good care of yourself you guys. We’re all needed here. One giant 25,000 plus family.
    Love n peas

  12. mghcoach4ADD September 16, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Peggy and I so appreciate this beautiful tribute. I will list it among the Kate memorial posts with the Kate articles on my blog, so that anyone who has not yet found it will be aware of its existance. Thank you.
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CMC, SCAC, MCC
    – cofounder of the ADD Coaching field –
    (blogging at ADDandSoMuchMore and ADDerWorld – dot com!)
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

  13. Vanilla September 16, 2012 at 2:46 am

    Dear Kate, it’s hard to believe that you are gone. I just watched your video again and enjoyed once more listening to your kind voice and spirit. You have been a source of inspiration and wisdom for all that struggle with ADD/ADHD. You will continue to be so and you will remain always in our hearts.
    With infinite gratitude.
    Dear Rick & Ava, thank you for introducing us to Kate. Your tribute is beautiful.
    Love and condolences to Kate’s family.

  14. Rick September 16, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Kate would love knowing how much of a difference she has made.
    Perhaps what makes her such a powerful voice is that while she has a great deal of knowledge about ADHD, it is tempered with experience, and hard won victories. It was never theoretical for her, and her own suffering and struggle gave her such compassion for her fellow ADDers.

  15. SuzeQuze September 17, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    I’m sad about this, I hate cancer. Really good info and I totally agree on classrooms being a nightmare. I wondered in school if adults even liked us, forcing us to sit in classrooms all day as children. Did they not remember what that was like? I’m grateful for her contributions and compassion. I have procrastinated reading this book but it’s going to be promoted to the top of my “next to read” pile.

  16. shutterbug55 September 17, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    My thoughts and prayers go out to her family. She was on my “I got to meet this person” list. Unfortunately, this list keeps getting shorter and shorter as the world is deprived of their presence.

  17. MarieAngell September 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    This is sad news. “You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Crazy or Stupid” was one of the first books on ADHD I read after my diagnosis. What a treasure. And what a relief to know I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.
    I hope she knew what a difference she made in the lives of so many.

  18. Peggy Ramundo October 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Kate and I used to call ourselves the “Bobbsey” Twins, many folk not really knowing who was Kate and who was Peggy. We were simply “Kate and Peggy”. For 30 years, most of our adult lives, we travelled a shared personal, professional, and Spiritual journey. Until September 13 when our paths diverged, Kate taking one where I couldn’t follow.
    Kate didn’t really lose her battle against Bladder Cancer; that’s not really the way it was. Oh, she was frightened and depressed during the first months after her initial diagnosis in January and we railed in anger at the unfairness of the “fates”. We also hugged and laughed a lot. Like the day my irreverent sense of humor had us giggling like school kids while I filled out her Living Will and Kate sat with her Chemo IV drip. No, Kate didn’t concede defeat to her disease not did she fight it. Instead, believing as I do that “All is in Divine Order”, she calmly and gracefully accepted the outcome, whatever it was to be.
    Rick and Ava, thank you from the bottom of my heart for your wonderful tribute to Kate. For me, she was all that you said she was and more. . .

  19. cherryberryblossom October 17, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    wow, i have been soo out of touch with the world. this was one of the first books i got and still have. i threw away aot of ADD books but this one and driven to distraction are the two i kept.
    sad news.
    rest in peace

  20. Fabulous October 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I just ordered You Mean I’m Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?! after seeing this announcement. I look forward to reading Kate and Peggy’s words, and learning more about this wonderful woman who helped pave a way for us.

  21. purplegenie June 15, 2013 at 12:36 am

    Kate was my ADD coach for more than a year when I was first diagnosed. She was wonderful, truly my Yoda, giving me advice I use to this day, 7 years later.
    I found out she had passed when I did a web search for her email address to give her an update. “Let me know how you’re doing,” she would always say. This video was a nice tribute.
    I am heartbroken that she is gone, but her work truly has had and will have a life of its on, and will go on.
    Goodbye, Kate. Much love and thanks to you.

Leave A Comment