FF: How did she get started with fundraising?
Nina: When Kaitlyn was 7, she asked to run a “longer” race. At the time, she had only been running 5Ks. We decided to train and run the Cotton Row 10K. My aunt sent Kaitlyn $10 in the mail as a congratulations for running her first 10K.
Kaitlyn then came to me and asked if I thought others would give her money for running and she could donate it to someone in need. I had been following the Jessie Rees Foundation for several years and thought raising money for kids with cancer would be something Kaitlyn could understand. I showed her the video on their webpage telling the story of how Jessie started making Joy Jars when she was sick. Kaitlyn immediately said, “Yes I want to run to raise money to help them send Joy Jars to kids fighting cancer.”
FF: Tell us about Running for Joy, The Jessie Rees Foundation, and why you chose to raise money for this cause.
Nina: The Jessie Rees Foundation was started when the Rees family’s daughter Jessie was going through treatment for an incurable brain tumor (DIPG). Jessie wanted to help the other kids fighting cancer. After Jessie passed away from her cancer, her parents kept the foundation going to honor Jessie’s wish of helping all kids fighting cancer to Never Ever Give Up (NEGU). The foundation sends Joy Jars and other boosts of Joy to kids fighting cancer to help cure bad days.