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It All Started with a FUNd…

April 7, 2022

I have many memories of my mom, far too many to count. Everything from cozy Christmas mornings and pizza-mom lunches to Ohio State Football games and countless car rides belting Sheryl Crow. While all those are seared into my memory the ones that stick with me the most always seem to be those that took place on vacations. That moment in time where my family got to step away from all the stresses of day-to-day life...no schedules, no chemo, no doctor’s appointments and most importantly, no cancer. The little moments in between. That’s where LIFE happens. And those moments are how I remember her.

Although I have no shortage of memories with my mom, one in particular always seems to follow me. Karen with a fishing rod in hand walking into the sunset while on one of our last vacations together. Some may look at this and think the scenery is what makes it beautiful, but to me, it is something far more significant. What this photo represents is my mom’s legacy. Although she may be moving forward as the sun sets on her life, what she left behind was beautiful. A legacy that brought beauty and a bit of life back into the lives of thousands of women and families just like hers.

Not too long after this photo was taken we decided to start a fund in honor of my mom. That little “FUNd” (as we now call it) is now known as The Karen Wellington Foundation for LIVING with Breast Cancer. As KWF grew, we quickly realized how many women, like Karen deserved a chance to share their legacy as well. We found that there were countless families who wanted to create their own ‘KWF’ but didn’t have the time, energy or resources to pour into starting and sustaining a foundation of their own. So that is where the idea of creating the FUNds began. KWF now has over 30 FUNds that celebrate the lives of those who believe in our mission.

Some FUNds are started after a recipient passes away as a way to celebrate their life and legacy. A FUNd that has really taken off this year has been the Becky Pellegrini FUNd. Becky and her husband, Joe took a KWF vacation to Maui back in 2018. After Becky’s passing last year her family knew that her vibrant legacy needed to be shared with those far beyond their small community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Joe and his kids, Mia, Anna and Nick wasted no time starting The Becky Pellegrini FUNd in her honor. In fact this summer they hosted their first-ever “Beckypalooza” event raising thousands of dollars for our mission. The Becky Pellegrini FUNd allows for women like Becky to experience some of that magic she felt on her trip to Hawaii. Those little moments where time slowed down just enough for Becky to take it all in while watching the sea turtles from her beachside balcony. The moments in between.

Just as the Pellegrini kids started a FUNd in honor of their mom, Paaras Parker started a FUNd for herself! Although Paaras does not have cancer, years ago she found that our mission resonated with her. She wanted to do more to create FUN for women and families LIVING with cancer. This past weekend Paaras held her 9th annual KWF Birthday Give Back. Each year Paaras gathers friends and family together on her lawn for a yoga class where she discusses the impact of KWF and takes donations to fuel our mission. This year The Paaras Parker FUNd raised enough money to send a deserving woman and family LIVING with cancer on vacation! A testament to the power in taking a leap to “Give First.”

Although we have a variety of incredible KWF FUNds spanning from coast to coast, there has been one that’s resonated with me recently, The Jenn Anderson FUNd. And who is the one leading the charge through Jenn’s legacy FUNd? That would be none other than Jenn’s 11-year-old daughter, Greta. One bake sale at a time, Greta is changing the lives of countless ladies LIVING with cancer, just like her mom. My story is a lot like Greta’s. I was only 10 years old when my mom passed away, leaving millions of unanswered questions, ‘what-ifs’ and wide-open spaces to figure things out on my own. Although there are countless unknowns, there’s one thing I know for sure. My mom would’ve wanted this. Not only for her own legacy but for the thousands of women to come after her. I have no doubt in my mind that Greta’s mom would’ve too.

And it all started with a FUNd.

MORE ABOUT KWF FUNds

What is a KWF FUNd?
At KWF we give people the opportunity to start both LIVING and memorial FUNds in honor of those who would like to continue the KWF mission. All donations made in the name of each specific FUNd helps us send more women and families LIVING with cancer on special vacations, relaxing spa days and other FUN-only activities!

Why FUNds?
KWF FUNds are a great way to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of those who are still with us, as well as those who are LIVING ON through our mission.

Are there FUNd requirements?
Nope! There are no FUNd requirements. All we ask is that you are passionate about the mission and bringing more FUN to our recipients! You do not have to have cancer to create a LIVING FUNd. Additionally, the person you are honoring through a memorial FUNd does not have to have cancer as well.

What's next?
If you would like to give more FUN through our mission, think about creating a LIVING FUNd.

Sign me up! Where do I start?
To learn more about starting a KWF FUNd, reach out to Susie Osha at susie.osha@karenwellingtonfoundation.org for more information!

Angeline Wellington