Kim and Jodi came together after their respective loved ones were impacted by a glioblastoma diagnosis. They found strength and healing by organizing and hosting the Sharing Hope Walk for the last 14 years. And together, with friends, families, coworkers and extended community, have raised more than a quarter of a million dollars at their charitable walk for brain tumor research and patient programs at the ABTA.
This year, they challenged themselves to level-up their “fundraising game,” but the coronavirus pandemic changed their plans. Now they’re joining the ABTA BT5K Your Way virtual walk/run event in September and asking their walk and bike riding participants to join in and support them in their virtual walk/run in September.
Coming Together After a Glioblastoma Diagnosis
Kim: In February 2003, my dad, Walter, was diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma. After months of fighting this crushing disease, we lost him on July 5, 2003. It was right after his death that my mom and I knew we had to do something to make his death make sense. I came across ABTA and knew this was the organization we needed to support in my dad’s memory. The first year we did a small family fundraiser in his hometown and raised a few thousand dollars. It wasn’t until this diagnosis effected our close friends, Jodi and Steve, that we realized we had to do more. It was then that our Sharing Hope Walk became a reality. This walk has helped me and my family in the healing of losing my dad. Knowing that we can make a difference gives me hope that one day we will beat this devastating disease.
Jodi: As a colleague and friend, I went through Kim’s loss right with her. In a bizarre twist of fate, three years later on February 1, 2006, my husband Steve was diagnosed with glioblastoma too. At that moment Steve and I knew that we would “accept the diagnosis, and defy the prognosis.” This is the mantra that the Kaplan family immediately adopted.
Kim was one of the first to head to the hospital to support us. At that point, Kim and I started planning the 1st Annual Sharing Hope Walk: Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk. This event took place four months later. I believe that this event has helped Steve immensely, by pulling strength from the love and support he gets (and continues to get) from friends, family and colleagues. And Steve’s strength, determination and courage has been an inspiration to everyone!
BT5K Your Way Fits Our Goals
The Sharing Hope Walk team has helped raise more than $259,000 over the past 14 years to benefit research programs at the American Brain Tumor Association. This May would have been our 15th Annual Sharing Hope Walk. We had just expanded our fundraising efforts by forming a team to bike ride in the NYC 5 Boro Bike ride as Team Sharing Hope. And then COVID-19 happened. We had to cancel our in-person walk and the NYC 5 Boro Bike ride for safety reasons. But Kim and I were NOT giving up hope to host our annual fundraising event. We toyed with virtual games and other ideas, but nothing clicked.
When we heard about the ABTA’s virtual BT5K Your Way in September that clicked! We then formed our own team and have started fundraising in recognition of the 15th Annual Sharing Hope Walk. We are engaging our community and past participants by inviting them to join us. Let’s keep up the momentum, Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk for brain tumor research.
Customizing BT5K Your Way for Our Community
Our event has always been a walk, and we certainly welcome creativity this year. We are encouraging our team to wear our purple Sharing Hope t-shirts and take selfies along the way as well as share on social media with the hashtag #TeamSharingHopeCT.
Defy the Prognosis and Join Us
You too can help defy a brain tumor diagnosis for patients, caregivers and families by raising funds to support brain tumor research and patient services and programs.
Sign up for the BT5K Your Way virtual run/walk events today. Visit BT5K Your Way for more information and to register.