Sep 16, 2010 by Kara Hart
I owe a huge Thank You to the following three companies for helping me reach (and exceed) my fundraising effots by either hosting a fundraiser through me or sponsering me.
Thank you to:
Tom Drago and Jim Twombly of Summation Research Incorporation who have graciously decided to sponser me through their company! Their company logo will be worn on my race jersey, as well as published on the TNT's website and newsletter.
Evon Morton of Premier Designs Jewelry who hosted a fundraiser giving back 33% of the total purchase price of her jewelry back to my efforts. We managed to raise $450 through this!!
Chili's Incorporation who donated back 10% of the food purchase price for a Chili's Gives Back Night to help with my fundraising efforts. I, along with my wonderful husband Chris, who handed out numerous fliers, raised $190 through this fundraiser.
Thank you so much to the above business that have helped me meet my goals!!
And thank you to everyone whom has donated...your support is beyond appreciated!!
Aug 17, 2010 by Kara Hart
Please come out to support me this Wednesday at the Chili's just south of the Countryside mall from 11 a.m. till 11 p.m.! Please bring this with you! If it's easier to print from a .pdf file, please click here: Chili's Flier PDF.
Hope to see lots of people there!!!
Where your hard earned money goes
Aug 09, 2010 by Kara Hart
For those of you who want to donate, but haven't yet, time's running out! It's not too late yet, but it will be before too long!
I've written and told you reasons why I think you should donate. I've told you reasons why I'm doing this, and what I'm doing this for. What I haven't told you is where exactly your money goes.
Those of you who haven't had to deal with an immediate family member going through chemo might not realize the exorbitant cost of it all, even WITH insurance.
When a patient is under-going chemo, the co-pays themselves can leave people almost bankrupt when they're done. Can you imagine going through the biggest battle of your life, and coming home healthy, but bankrupt? That's where LLS comes in. Not only does the money I raise go towards research and coming up with new drugs, it also goes directly towards patient aid. I actually have a friend from high school who experienced this first hand. I asked her to share her story with me, and asked if I could share it with you. She graduated high school a year after I did, which means she was around 23 years old and fighting for her new husband's life. Thankfully, her story has a very happy continuation...her husband is alive, well, and they have a 2 month old beautiful baby girl!
Here's her story:
My husband was diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma back in the spring of 2006. We found out Memorial Day weekend and it was so severe he was immediately rushed for heart surgery to drain all the liquid that was around his heart due to the infected lymphnodes. He was unconcious for a few days but on the 7th day of the breathing machine he was able to be taken off! He started chemo and radiation day 2 in the hospital and that Thanksgiving was considered in remition. It has been 3.5 years now and we are so blessed! He was in the ICU for over a week and with 8 rounds of chemo and radiation the bills were way up there. LLS helped us pay for some of our monthly bills but more importantly was there as our biggest support system, besides family, especially for me as his caretaker. We try and give to as many charities as we can but LLS is always our first. We even were going to sign up for TNT right when we found out we were expecting. We hope to do it soon! Our little girl is our biggest miracle other than him being alive. All the chemo had made him sterile but with time something happened (another miracle!) and here she is!! If you want to know more just let me know. Its not worded right as Im on lack of sleep so I apologize! Have fun in San Fran and thanks for being part of this to raise attention and money for a great organization!
Here's another example from a fellow teammate who's also fundraising. His best friend had a very similar experience:
I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma 8 years ago. I went through numerous types of chemo therapy to try to kill the cancer in the least evasive way. The chemo didn't work for me, so I had to make a big decision to go for a stem cell transplant. I was lucky enough to get a donor match from my sister. I went through the transplant and had to stay either in the hospital or at home for a year, wearing a surgical mask if I ever went outside. I had health insurance, but my co pays for my medicine was unbearable. That's where The Leukemia/Lymphoma Society came to my rescue. They saved my life in a way, by not letting me go into bankruptcy. They covered all my co pays for a couple years as well as other expenses. I still volunteer for them and give pep talks for the team on occasion. Thanks for joining the team, it means the world to me!
And as far as research dollars, LLS funded research led to the development of Rituxan by Dr. Ron Levy st Sanford. This is the drug that helped put and keep NUMEROUS leukemia patients in remission. Prior to Rituxan, the average time to relapse following chemo was so much shorter.
LLS supported research also led to a breakthrough drug, Gleevec. CML (Chronic Mylegoneous Leukemia) is kept in check by taking this drug every day. In fact, the three men that developed the drug received the Lasker-DeBakery Clinical Medical Research Award in 2009 for "converting a fatal cancer into a manageable chronic condition."
Funds raised by TNT teammates in previous years helped make many patients remission possible today. Imagine the good that can come out of the funds we raise today for the patients who will need it tomorrow. The money that you give saves lives. It's as simple as that.
So whether you can relate to helping out with co-pays or it's the research and ground breaking drugs that LLS provides, please find it in your heart to donate to this great organization. There are so many reasons to donate and help. If every person I emailed, asked, or wrote a letter to asking for a donation donated just $10, I would already be well over $5000. Yes, I've asked more than 500 people. No, it's not easy to ask for money, even when it's for a great organization and not for myself. It's still not easy. I still do it because with all of your help, we're saving lives. We really are.
You can not do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Kara's Fundraising Page
Jul 28, 2010 by Kara Hart
Racing to Save Lives
I'm at it again!! I'm training to participate in the Nike Women's Half Marathon on October 17th as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. (Please Scroll down to the bottom of the page, before running log, to see the start of this page...who I am, what I'm doing, and why. Work your way from the bottom of the page to the top to see the oldest / newest posts. Thanks!)
***If you'd prefer to send a check, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my home address. Make the check payable to The Luekemia and Lymphoma Society. Thanks so much!!
7/15 - Emotional Block
This email is a little behind in getting sent out because I've been having a bit of a writers block. In these emails, I try to convey all of the positive sides of what I'm doing...I try to motivate you and inspire you. The reality is that I'm fundraising for something that is not motivational nor inspirational, but sad and unfair. Cancer. Cancer is liked armed robbery of completely innocent people. There have been leaps and bounds of progress made towards finding a cure and coming up with medications that help, so there are more cancer survivors and less cancer victims. There are still victims though. Not every story ends positively, and this is why I run, and this is why I fund-raise.
The past few weeks have been filled with more sad stories than inspirational ones, and I've hit a bit of a road block emotionally. That's okay, it happens in training, in life, in anything we put 100% of our efforts into. There are times where it's going to be hard to see the silver lining or to look for the rainbow after the storm. I know that...I just have to remind myself of it from time to time.
These people aren't here to tell their stories anymore, and I know I can't do them justice like they could've, but it's important that every story is heard, and occasionally it's important to be reminded of the ugly side of cancer and why I'm doing this.
Doug was the Central Florida's honored teammate. He was a 38 year old husband and father to two elementary school boys. Doug trained and ran the Disney Marathon, and quite a few other events with Team in Training while he was undergoing chemo and fighting for his life. People often asked him how he could train for such a strenuous physical event while going through chemo, and his response was "by putting one foot in front of the other." He held on past Father's Day, and died on June 21st. June 21st was the summer solstice, the day the sun shines the longest. Cancer robbed not only him, but his wife and their two boys. 38 years old is 10 years older than I am now. What a scary thought. Those 2 boys have been robbed of a Dad to play catch with or coach them from the sidelines. And while I'm sure that they will forever remember the man their father was, they will never get the joy of experiencing adulthood friendship with their Dad. His wife is a widow with 2 young boys to raise all by herself. It's not fair, it's not right, and it's got to be stopped. We can't allow cancer to keep taking innocent lives.
A friend of a friend, who's my age, lost his Mom to cancer last week. I'm still at the age where I rely entirely too much on my parents for mental and emotional support for them not to be here...I can't even imagine the heartache and sense of loss that he feels.
One of my best friends is a chemo nurse, and I often hear her patients stories from her. She had one last week commit suicide, and another one that was again my parents age, lose his battle. It's so incredibly sad to know that one couldn't handle the fight anymore and ended his own life while another one died fighting. I can't imagine what either of them were going through, and I honestly hope I never have to.
To those of you fighting right now, please continue to fight, please don't give up. It's got to be so incredibly hard, but this life is a life worth living, it's a life worth fighting for.
To the rest of you, please help stop this. Please donate, any amount, to further the research and find a cure. Please help make cancer a distant memory that we can all put behind us.
And for those of you who've lost your loved ones to this awful disease, as hard as this is, I hope you're able to celebrate the life they lived and cheerish the memories you've shared.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
6/27 - Motivation and Inspiration
This past weekend, I had the pleasure of having lunch with Nancy while I was home for my 10 year high school reunion. She looks fabulous and is in such great spirits because she got awesome news back from the doctor...her test results came back and she is now cancer free!! No chemo, no radiation...the double mastectomy got everything. Thank you all so much for the prayers and well wishes. Nancy is SUCH an inspiration and such a bright hearted and spirited woman. She motivates me to do better...to do more, so that no one else has to experience what she's gone through! She is a hero to all of us.
Motivation...inspiration...I feed off of these two things, and it's YOU that gives it to me. This week, I thought I'd share a few of the motivational, inspiring, and touching stories that you guys have sent to me in response to my efforts.
So proud of you, girl! I'm glad that your letter ended up with me. Honey - I just lost my 26 year old son, Zach, to cancer 8 months ago. I wish I could give you a million dollars!! God Bless you.
Thanks for doing this, Kara. I am one of Nancy's tennis partners and I am currently also battling my own cancer. It is my second round of colon cancer. I had chemo and radiation this spring before surgery on 28 May and am now recovering from a very difficult surgery. I get my third round of chemo started in 2 weeks and it lasts for 6 months. Then it's more surgery before I can put this all behind me again. Thanks again, Carol Becker
I (we) wanted to congratulate you for all you are doing to help the "fight" to eradicate cancer in our time. We've had so many relatives and friends, including our son Bill, receive this diagnosis. His
cancer was diagnosed in time and he is about 4 1/2 years cancer-free, thank God! Now with Nancy, my husband's sister, receiving her breast cancer diagnosis, we want to help fight this thing. .... Anyway, we wish you all the best with this wonderful organization and your running...you have a marvelous can-do attitude, so no trouble there .... May God bless you for all you are doing. Nancy is going to be victorious with this "thing"...that is what we believe... With love - Catherine Ann and Dennis Garrett / Darlington, Pennsylvania
And when I asked Cathy Ann if I could use her story in this email, this was her response:
We have been so happy since hearing the good news about Nancy's
outcome after her mastectomy. It might rival a birth, a marriage, a
graduation, receiving a PhD, and winning the largest Lottery ever
given out! :-) There aren't enough magnificent words to describe
our feelings of Nancy's good news that she is cancer free...hallelujah
and thank God would be for starters...just a second, gotta get out the
kleenex, I cry every time I even think about the odds that were
beaten!!! Okay, eyes are dry for the moment...and yes, plaster our
email anywhere you wish if it will help! Do whatever it takes. I see
us supporters as the 1% with the motivation for you to draw from, and
you with all the running as 99% with the perspiration!!! :-]
If I lived there, I'd be that woman standing on the sidelines cheering
you on, the one giving you the big grin and hug at the end of the run,
or handing you that cup of water as you pass by. Draw whatever
motivation you can from your constituency...that's what your
supporters are about.
We are very proud of you and applaud what you are doing. Gee, you
already know that!!!!!!! You "go girl" and God bless you!!!!!!!
Cancer, just the word, has only one good part to it and that is the
first three letters, can. When this all first started we believed in
our hearts that Nancy "can" do it and beat this "thing" and she
Well, you just keep on keepin' on...we hope and pray for the day when
cancer will be eradicated...and you, plus the others involved, and
your constituency are going to help make it happen!!
These emails, these supporters, and these courageous people are why I do this. And these stories are only a small portion of them. Thank you so much for sharing your stories with me and for keeping me motivated. I don't think you'll truly ever understand the amount of appreciation I feel and the inspiration you give to me through your words. You are all my hero's. Anyone who has ever had to fight for a life, whether it be their own or someone else, is a hero in my book.
Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others? ~ Martin Luther King Jr.
6/14 - Why Wait?
So far since joining TNT, one of the big questions that I get is why. Why am I doing this? Most people that join TNT have their own story of a parent, spouse, child, aunt or uncle, or some other immediate family member that inspired them to join. While all of us are there to fund raise and run, most of the people that are new to TNT are there to run away. They come to run far enough and fast enough with the hopes that they might find a world where cancer does not exist. They come with courageous, but sad and gut-wrenching stories of who they're running for and why.
My story is a little bit different. Yes, I am running for Nancy, Jenny's Aunt Susie, and my sponsored teammate Ryan. The only one I truly know of these is Nancy, and her cancer is breast cancer. To be quite honest, I signed up for this before I even knew about Nancy's cancer. So why? Why join the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training? Why not donate to a different organization that specifically helps with Breast Cancer? Why put myself through all of the fundraising, etc. for this organization?
My answer is two fold. One, I believe whole-heartedly in this organization and the greatness that they've accomplished over the past several years. I believe that this organization will be the key to finding an end to all cancer. I believe that someday I (and you) will be able to say that we played a part in ending cancer. Maybe a small part, but a part nonetheless. Two, Why wait? Why wait until an immediate family member is diagnosed to join the fight? Why wait to support this effort until I feel desperate for a cure? Why not help those that are complete strangers to me, but that are so grateful for the efforts I put in? I can't just sit back and watch from the side-lines and wait.
I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
- Edward Everett Hale
6/5 - WHY I am doing this
About a week ago, I found out that my Dad's business partners (Jim) wife Nancy has breast cancer, and is immediately having a double mastectomy. Since my Dad and Jim started their crazy business adventure together, 20 some odd years ago, Nancy and Jim have been a huge part of my life. I remember many BBQ's, pool parties, and dinners with Jim and Nancy and their kids. No one ever deserves to get cancer, it's never fair. Nancy is such a strong woman with such a huge heart, and I know she will fight through this, but if I'm being quite honest, it still doesn't seem fair.
This is why I'm doing this. This is why I'm running to raise money. Because cancer isn't fair and we need to find a cure for ALL cancers. I'm analytical. I do a ton of research before committing to anything, and training with TNT was no different. I chose this organization because blood cancer research is considered to be the window to the treatment and cure for all cancers. That's why I feel so passionately about raising funds for leukemia research. Did you know that treatments such as chemotherapy and bone transplants were developed for leukemia but are now used as an effective treatment for many other cancers? This research is so important. I'm running in honor of Nancy, Jenny's Aunt Susie, Ryan, and every other person that has or has ever had this disease. I'm running so that future generations don't have to know the anxiety, stress, and sadness that goes into knowing a loved one has cancer. I'm running for a cure.
If you'd like to make a donation in honor of Nancy, please just write a comment for her at the bottom of my page. I will make sure she sees all of the love and support!
Racing to Save Lives
I'm training to participate in the Nike Women's Half Marathon on October 17th as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I am completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!
Chris and I both did a full marathon through TNT 3 years ago (almost to the date!), and the experience was one I will forever be greateful for. I have shared my feelings on this organization and motivated quite a few friends to join throughout these past three years.
So why come back now? My friend, Jenny Bockman, has an aunt that is currently in relapse with lymphoma. When someone you love is going through fighing for their lives with cancer, you want to do something. You want to help. Jenny joined TNT to run this half marathon as well, and I want to be there with her.
A close family friend also recently found out that she has breast cancer and has to immediately have a double masectomy. I am running in honor of her as well. Please see my blurb below to read more on this.
The sad truth and reality is that we all know someone dear to us that has had to fight the battle with cancer. Let's all fight to stop this. Let's all help!
I have already checked the box for a full marathon, and I don't know that my body could handle another one, so this time I'm only running the half. The next few months will still be very streneous between training, fundraising, balancing work, a new home, and helping Chris get through school, but I know I can do it. I get to do it. With your love and support, together, we can all make a dfference.
So please, look inside your hearts and help make a difference. Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission.
I will be updating this website regularly, so please be sure to check back on my progress! Thanks for your support, it is so greatly appreciated!!!
I've created a blog to keep up with all of my training. Go see it here.
6/26 Fourth and Fifth run
These past two weeks have been weeks four and five of training. I can't believe I've been doing this for over a month already! It's hot and muggy in the Sunshine State, but I don't let that slow me down during our Saturday runs. When I think it's too hot and it's too hard, I think of what cancer patients are going through and I push harder. It's just hot. It's just a little uncomfortable. That, I can handle.
This past weekend while I was in Melbourne, Jenny and I met up with the Space Coast TNT. It was so neat to be able to run with another Team, and I couldn't have been happier to run with Jenny. I ran 7 miles, which included running over the Eau Gallie Causeway twice in an hour and five minutes. That puts me right at my target long run times of a 9:30 pace. This was really my first experience with hill training, and it is definitely challenging!
6/13 Third run
I slightly cheated this week and ran at my local park with just Chris and Kodi. I got to sleep an extra 45 minutes because of it! I ran 5 miles averaging a 9:20/mile pace.
My mind is that of a runner. When I get into my stride, I can tune the rest of the world out and just go. I think, I listen to my music, I tune out all of the negatives, and think about why I'm running...who I'm doing this for, and what they're going through. That was all abruptly interrupted about half way through my run. Chris generally stays a few feet back from me when Kodi's along for the jog so that I can set the pace. I was lost in my own world and all of the sudden I hear Chris's voice in panic screaming my name at the top of his lungs. My immediate reaction was to stop. Good thing. The next word I heard after my name was alligator. Alligator? Where?! Then I looked down. I literally almost tripped over a huge, at least 8 foot alligator (in my mind, he's about 20 feet, but Chris says 8-12, so I'll go with the less dramatic size). He was directly in my running path.
The gator was less than my body distance away from me and had algae all over his head, so he blended in with the bank of the lake / pond that I was running along. Chris had apparently seen the Gator quite a bit before and thought I saw it and would turn at any second. I took off sprinting as far as I could away from the Gator. Thankfully, he stayed put, and I continued the rest of my run less tuned out, and further away from the bank of the water!
6/7 Second TEAM run
Holy hotness! Saturday's run was hot! hot! hot! We ran 6 miles over 2 causeways, which means no shade and very little breeze. I maintained a 9 min/mile pace. My shins and knees are sore, so I'm guessing I should probably tone that down a bit! I ran 3 miles this morning, and my shins bothered me some. I think I'm going to cross train for the rest of this week and re-asses my shins after Saturday's run. I'm ready for winter to come back again!
5/29 - First TEAM Run
Saturday was my first TEAM run. I got an email on Friday telling me the location, distance (5 miles!) and time...630 a.m.!!! Training for long distance runs in this Florida heat means early early Saturday wakeups! Chris, being the trooper he is, joined in on the first run. We got up about 515, ate, digested, and then headed out to meet everyone. I chatted with a few people along the first mile or so of the run, and then took off at my own pace. The problem with being the pace setter for the run is that I didn't know the course, so I wound up running closer to 6 miles than 5. It felt great to get out there and be surrounded with people who are so giving of themselves!! Saturday was a looong day though! I'm looking forward to many more to come!
Thanks so much to those who have already donated...I really truly appreciate your support!!
My Garmin died on me, but if I were to guess my pace (for those of you keeping track), I'd say I maintained about a 930 pace. I'll make sure to charge my Garmin for next week and get an accurate long distance time!