Jen Jacobs


In a town of 1700, one promise made by two parents to their nine year old daughter brought out a crowd of over 700 to honor her memory, begin a legacy and raise awareness about the need for bone marrow donations.
Orange was the color of the day on Saturday as over 700 people showed up for the Caring for Kayleen 5K.

Orange, the color of AML Leukemia awareness showed beautifully against the brilliant blue sky. Blue was Kayleens favorite color.

Nine year old Kayleen Larson of Clearwater was diagnosed in March of 2012 with AML Leukemia and required a six month stay at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis. While she was there, her birthday passed and Kayleen, while fighting the battle of her short little life made a selfless decision that will likely carry on for years to come.

Kayleen decided that she didn't need the toys and games that she got as birthday gifts and instead decided to donate them to the other sick children in the hospital because they needed cheering up. Kayleen's parents, Kelly and Sarah Larson made a promise to their daughter that they would continue to honor her every year on her birthday by donating toys and other gifts to the children who were staying in the hospital.

Today, that promise came true as almost half the town came out to show they care for Kayleen.

The 5K run and walk wasn't just to raise money for toys, it was also held to raise awareness for bone marrow donation.

If Kayleen had gotten to the point in her treatment where she could have moved forward, a bone marrow donation could have sent her into remission and saved her life. Kayleen lost her battle with leukemia May 3, just two days after her classmates at Clearview Elementary and the entire city of Clearwater went orange to show their support for her. Clearwater Mayor Pete Edmonson had even declared May 1 Kayleen Larson Day.

If you are between the ages of 18 and 44, you can Be the Match for someone like Kayleen. To join the registry or join Team Kayleen, click HERE.

I can't help but think that Kayleen was watching over us today and smiling upon the whole sea of orange.

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