By Sarah Garcia - October 25, 2019
The distance from Unadilla, N.Y. to Tampa, Fla. is nearly 1,300 miles. But that distance did not stop Kailey Kinsella from supporting a cause that is very near to her heart.
Kinsella’s “Nana,” Barbara Kinsella, battled Leiomyosarcoma for six years. The rare cancer accounts for only 1% of all soft tissue cancers in adults. Living in rural upstate New York, Kinsella couldn’t receive the level of care she needed, so she came to Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa.
Although Kinsella said goodbye to her Nana in February of this year, she said if it weren’t for Moffitt, she and her family would not have had as much time with her as they did.
“My Nana loved life and lived it well. No matter the news she got, she was determined to have a great quality of life,” Kinsella said. “She wanted to be able to go to Florida with my Pop in the winter, go out to eat, spend time with her swimming and boat club friends, her red hat ladies, and most of all wanted as much time as possible with her family. I feel Moffitt allowed that to happen. Moffitt gave her the most wonderful care while she was in Florida during the winter, and worked with her doctors in New York during the summer.”
On Sunday, October 13, she laced up her running shoes and geared up to run her first-ever marathon: the Mohawk Husdon River Marathon in Schenectady, N.Y. Kinsella said she felt amazing up until the halfway point, when her hamstrings started to cramp up.
“The memory of my Nana – the reason behind this race – is definitely what kept me going,” she said. “I kept reminding myself how hard she fought for so long.”
Kinsella says when your ‘Why’ is strong enough, it’s impossible to stop doing what you set out to do. “For me, my Nana and the desire to raise money for Moffitt were my ‘Whys.’”
Not only did she complete 26.2 miles, Kinsella also led fundraising efforts resulting in over $1,000 and counting for cancer research at Moffitt. While she couldn’t be at Miles for Moffitt in person, Kinsella is a true testament to how much of an impact a virtual runner can make from afar.
For those looking to get involved as a virtual runner, Kinsella can’t place enough emphasis on the importance of sharing your story. “It will touch more people than you think.” She credits sharing her story on social media for helping raise most of the funds for Miles for Moffitt.
Kinsella knows her Nana would be so proud of her efforts, and smiling ear to ear. “But it wasn’t very often you saw her without a smile,” she adds.
She plans to continue to participate in Miles for Moffitt in the future, but says running in person is definitely on her bucket list.