BENEFITING: Katie Oppo Research Fund Inc
19 days from now, I will be taking part in the Tough Mudder, a 12 mile obstacle course race that people choose to take part in to not only test their speed but their strength, mental and physical. Some people think I am crazy. Some people don't get why in the world I want to do it. But this test of mental and physical strength is what drew me to it. And I want to run this race and challenge myself in honor of the strongest person I know, my best friend Katie Oppo. Katie and I met when our elementary schools combined to start those never awkward and ever so wonderful middle school years. What blossomed moving forward, was one of my most treasured and cherished relationships with a person who would change my life. Katie was my best friend and truly defined the word for me. From middle school, through high school and up until college, Katie and I stuck by each others side through the best and worst times, loving every minute of our lives.
In August of 2010, at 19 years of age, Katie found out she had ovarian cancer, a very rare form known as hypercalcemic small cell carcinoma, that had already progressed to stage 4. For the next 9 months, Katie faced the most difficult battle anyone could ever imagine, the battle for her life. She faced challenge after challenge, constantly fighting for her life with the determination and will of a true fighter, all while maintaining grace, positivity and a LOVE for life. Being by her side through those 9 months and watching her give her ALL to beat this disease, yet not getting even the slightest break and finally losing her battle, crushed me. April 11th, 2013 will mark two years since Katie lost her valiant battle against ovarian cancer. It will mark two years since I last sat next to her talking about everything and anything, like we always did. Two years since I got to hear her laugh or say "oh suzzz" after I told her my most recent ironic or funny encounter. Two years since I got to see her smile or hold her hand. Two years since I got to tell her how much I loved her. I not only lost my best friend but I lost someone who was like a sister to me, someone who I looked up to and admired wholeheartedly.
On Sunday April 21st, I will be running the Tough Mudder in Katie's honor and memory, because she showed me what it meant to be strong and a true fighter. Katie died at the tragic age of 19 yet she fit so much life into those 19 years. That is why I decided to do a 19 day challenge to see how much money I can raise in just 19 days in Katie's honor. I, alongside with Katie's family and friends, have established a Katie Oppo Research Fund for which we have held numerous fundraising events. The fund has reached a level of over $100,000 and as of this past summer, we donated $50K to the gynecological research lab at Memorial Sloan Kettering where they are performing research to study Katie's specific type of cancer. It is truly incredible how much love and support we have had but it is only just the beginning. I am determined to continue funding research to learn more about Katie's specific type of cancer, so young girls never have to go through what she did. All donations that are made to support me in the Tough Mudder will go directly to KORF to try to find a cause and a cure.
April 14th, 2013 marks my 22nd birthday and I ask that instead of gifts, friends and family will consider a donation to this cause. There is nothing more in the world I would give to have Katie back, but I know that she is cheering us on as we try to raise money for cancer research. Thank you so much for your consideration and future donations. We love and miss you so incredibly much Katie.