When Kimberly Hasapes lost her mother, Nana, to leukemia last December, Kimberly didn’t make the choice to sit at home and gloat.
A 38-year-old retired United States military veteran, she remains motivated to help fight the disease that killed her mother.
Her 20 years in the Ohio Army National Guard, including 10 years active duty, took her to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. She has dealt with difficult situations before and is determined to turn her mother’s death into something positive.
She signed up with the Team in Training Society, a special program created specifically to raise money for the national leukemia and lymphoma society.
Hasapes, an East Toledo native and Waite graduate, is training to run/walk a 13-mile marathon to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Northern Ohio in the upcoming Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.
“My motivation comes from my mom who recently lost her battle to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma,” Hasapes said.
“During the marathon, for each person that is on my list I am going to take a moment to reflect for that person and also to help me get through it,” Hasapes said. “If I’m getting tired and wanting to stop or whatever, I can think, ‘Well, gosh, look at what this person had to endure.’”
Her longest run as of lately has been eight miles, so she knows she will have to push it a little to reach the required 13 miles and finish a half-marathon while in San Fransisco.
She’s also running on behalf of others who have lost similar fights, and has founded a fundraising page at www.teamintraining.org to recognize them. Anyone who has lost a family member or close friend to a life-threatening illness can request Hasapes to include that person’s name on her page.
“I plan to dedicate each mile to someone who has lost his or her life to cancer or is coping with a life-threatening illness,” Hasapes said. “If there is anyone who would like me to run in honor or memory of, please let me know so I can list them as an honoree and include them in my thoughts.”
Hasapes says the list on her website continues to grow. It also includes those who may be coping with a life-threatening illness but continue to survive, like her cousin, Mark Newland. She recognizes there are few families who have not lost or dealt with one of their own having to fight a life-threatening illness.
“You can see people keep adding names,” Hasapes said. “Everybody has somebody.”
Also on her page, friends and family are providing support with comments.
“I honor of your wonderful mother and my best friend, I hope this money you raise will help someone else from loosing their wonderful Mom and best friend. Your Mom will be so proud of you, up there in heaven, and I’m proud of you too,” writes Barbara Smith.
“Rock on Kim! I know you will accomplish your goal!” writes Brian Cahill.
Team in Training started in New York in 1986 with Lucy Duffy, a participant in the New York City Marathon. She ran in honor of her husband who was battling leukemia at the time, raising over $22,000, but her husband lost his life two months later.
A man named Bruce Cleland then took Duffy’s idea a little further in 1988 and formed a team which fundraised and trained in honor of his own daughter. That team raised $322,000 for his new local chapter and Team in Training was born.
Hasapes’ commitment to the society is to raise $4,400 — money which will go to research aimed at finding a cure for cancer. She is now closing in on $3,000, having reached $2,891 as of two weeks ago.
Preparing for the Team in Training event is no easy task, either. Her efforts include running several miles daily, a boxing workout at the International Boxing Club in downtown Toledo, swimming laps, and lifting weights.
At the IBC, which is under the auspices of East Side native and boxing club director Harry Cummins, she participates in “boxercise.” She had been a 3-year veteran of boxercise prior to her tour of duty in Afghanistan, and since having retired last year from the National Guard, has returned to the IBC for much of her training.
Her mom’s significant other, Ed Emch, still survives in Stony Ridge. Hasapes has been conducting other fundraising events for the society, including a garage sale during the Stony Ridge Festival and a $50 gift card raffle drawing. She keeps these listed on her web page, and one gift card drawing winner will be selected on August 15.