By Emily Disman
This past summer my family’s life was changed forever when my cousin, Heather Andelsman, was diagnosed with leukemia. Heather graduated HHH East in 2015. She had just finished her freshman year at Tulane University when she received this life-changing news only a few weeks after her 19th birthday. Heather’s strength and courage through even the darkest days was incredible. I am happy to say that Heather returned to school in January and just completed her sophomore year at Tulane.
To honor Heather, my family decided to walk in the Long Island Marathon’s 5K to raise money for an incredible charity: Friends of Karen. Since 1978, Friends of Karen has been providing emotional, financial, and advocacy support (at no cost) to families caring for a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness. So far, we have been able to raise almost $15,000 for this great organization. We are so thankful for the support we have received from our family, friends, and neighbors. My family has been working with this charity for many years, but we never expected to be dealing with childhood cancer ourselves. While it was an incredibly difficult time for our family, we realized that we are very fortunate to have had the support of people around us and the financial resources to ensure that Heather received the best care and was never alone. Many families are not as fortunate and that is where the support of an organization like Friends of Karen becomes so critical.
The Long Island Marathon was a two day event that took place at Eisenhower Park. The 5K was on Saturday, May 6th. It was a fun-filled morning with participants of all ages walking and running around the park. My family and friends, along with many others, proudly wore bright neon yellow Friends of Karen shirts and our race numbers as we made our way around the trail. Even though I was one of the last people to complete the race, I can honestly say that I had an amazing time supporting a charity that is very special to me, and I had a lot of fun spending the day with my family and friends.
Photo by Emily Disman