My name is Monica, I am the team captain for Karen’s Crusaders. I first participated in Laura’s Smile Mile run in 2013. I wanted to do a 5K and found Laura’s Smile Mile and thought it’d be perfect since my Aunt Karen was fighting ovarian cancer. I was so touched and inspired by the whole event and post race speeches I decided to create the team Karen’s Crusaders last year for family and friends to show support for Karen in her fight. Last year we had one of the largest teams and hope to have an even bigger team this year. Karen, her husband Mike, and children were even able to come up from O’Fallon, IL to participate. Karen walked the 2 miles standing proud, we all walked along her side to the finish line chanting her name. A moment I’m sure we will all remember. This year Karen will be running/walking with us all in our hearts. Sadly, Karen passed away May 25th. She fought courageously through it all, always with a smile, her infectious laugh, and her ability to make friends wherever she goes.

As Grantland Rice once said, “it’s not that you won or lost but how you played the game.” Karen never let cancer define her or “win”, rather she beat cancer by how she lived.