We're excited to launch a permanent collection of stories for our community to share.
This week is the official beginning of fall and, besides stepping on those first crunchy leaves, back-to-school, and deciding which pumpkin-flavored treat to have, we’re looking forward to race season! In case you missed it, Kesem has a very exciting new partnership with runDisney—and we can’t wait to support our Team Kesem runners in 3 exciting upcoming races. As we build our team, we can’t help but admire the incredible stories of our participants.
Alexa’s Story: “I have always had a passion and love for running ever since I was in second grade. As a recently graduated University of Alabama Cross-Country and Track & Field athlete, I wanted to continue running by way of marathons and half-marathons. While I’ve run countless (probably hundreds) of half-marathons (and longer) at practice, I knew that taking to the streets to actually race the half-marathon and marathon distances is something I’ve always wanted to do as it allows me to continue participating in a sport I love but in a new environment. As a 5k and 10k specific runner in college, I always loved long runs (90-110 minutes) and high mileage (80+ miles a week) as it allowed to bond with my teammates (plenty of time to talk!) and served as a sort of escape from the outside stressors of the world.
This race is so exciting because it combines my love for Kesem AND running (the perfect combination in my totally biased opinion). It allows me to take the next step in my running journey, while also supporting an organization I am so passionate about! Being a distance runner from south Florida, I’ve always dreamed about running a Disney race one day, and this opportunity would let me fulfill that dream, as well. It also gives me the chance to participate on behalf of Team Kesem which would be SO cool!
I’m just so excited that Kesem and runDisney are partnering up because I think it’ll help foster more support, community, and magic! The same feelings I get from running (empowerment, peace, and friendship) are the same feelings I get from Kesem, which is such a beautiful thing.”
Beth’s Story: “I have been a runner since 2004 and a triathlete since 2007. I have completed a full Ironman in Panama city Florida and 10 half ironman distance races in places such as Puerto Rico, NH, FL, GA, and NC. I am an endurance athlete and prefer the half marathon or the 70.3 triathlon distance. I am an adult that survived childhood loss of my parent. My Dad died when I was 12 of cancer. I wish I had this amazing camp to attend when I was a child or that an adult in my life found that opportunity for me. My good friends sent their children to your camp this summer after watching them struggle with the grief of parent illness. I understand their experience was amazing. I would like to participate in honor of my brave friend who fought breast cancer and in memory of my Dad. I would like to be able to say I've contributed to helping other children through a terrible trauma better than I was as I think this will help me as I continue to heal even as an adult that still struggles with my grief.”
Julia’s Story: Kesem is very special to me because of my personal relationship with their mission. Cancer has affected my family in a number of ways and Kesem provides me an outlet to help others by shedding a positive light and lifting people up when an unfortunate circumstance arises.
During my freshman year of college, my mom was diagnosed with cancer; this news forced me into a dark place that I could not find a way out of until I discovered a love for running. Running provided me an opportunity to feel strong again after a period of weakness, rediscover my motivation and take control back over the unknowingness, fear, and helplessness that a parent’s diagnosis results in. Kesem embodies all of the good in the world and allows us to be our authentic selves, laugh, form meaningful relationships, and believe again when it may feel impossible to do so. After graduating in May and spending my last week of camp at Kesem at MSU this July, I have already felt a void in my life. The opportunity to combine my two passions, Kesem and running, would be a dream come true!
For the last four years running has provided me with goals to strive for, a purpose in each day, and a chance for me to grow mentally and physically in monumental ways. I am constantly competing with myself to run farther, faster, and longer than the day before.
Being a part of Team Kesem would allow me to resume my involvement with Kesem after graduating this past spring, while also allowing me to shoot for new goals within my physical health, something that I take much pride in.
Ever since my first Kesem meeting at Michigan State, I knew I had to keep Kesem in my life long after my college years came to a close because there is a certain feeling that Kesem creates that cannot quite be explained. It is not a place but a feeling, a community, and a family that will always be there for you through every stage of your life, through every up, and through every down. This experience with Run Disney would begin the next phase of my Kesem journey, which I am eager to embark on!
It’s not too late to apply for the runDisney races yourself or pass it along to someone you know; find our application here.