stories: jenn

stories: jenn

Today we have the privilege of introducing you to Jenn Usner – an inspirational member of Team BTF! We first became aware of Jenn in the fall of 2012 when she started her own personal fundraising page (yes you can do that through BTF!) for the Portland Marathon. It was very clear then that she had an incredible community of family and friends supporting her in her efforts! When I chatted on the phone with her following the Portland Marathon I asked her, “So how did it go?” Her response was something along the lines of, “Oh, it was pretty good. The only problem was I passed a kidney stone during the race.” Yes, friends you read that right – A KIDNEY STONE!! And she finished the race!!! As someone who avoids physical pain I literally cannot fathom this. Next week Jenn is headed up to Vancouver as part of Team BTF and I asked her if she would be willing to share part of her story…

Why did you choose to get involved with Ben Towne Foundation?

I chose to get involved with Ben Towne Foundation because cancer research is very near and dear to my heart. In 1997, my mom was diagnosed with cancer and her only hope for survival was a Bone Marrow Transplant. My mom endured months of high dose chemotherapy, radiation, experimental treatments and months confined to her hospital room. My mom was one of the lucky ones and survived her Bone Marrow Transplant. We were so grateful for the cutting edge research that happened here in Seattle to save my mom’s life. She was cancer free for 16 incredible years before being diagnosed with a secondary cancer and passing away in June of 2013. Just as my mom was given hope in 1997, Ben Towne Foundation is giving hope to children and their families by changing the way pediatric cancers are being treated and cured. As a volunteer for the Fred Hutchinson/Seattle Cancer Care Alliance for the past 15 years I have seen the devastating side effects chemotherapy and radiation can have on children. I am committed to do whatever I can to help find a cure and better treatments for this deadly disease.

Can you tell us what you are doing to raise awareness/funds for BTF?

In 2012 I decided to run the Portland marathon to raise money and awareness for Ben Towne Foundation. I knew that if I put in the time to train for a marathon, my network of family and friends would be willing to support this incredible foundation and the work that is being done at BTCCCR. I set up my personal fundraising page, set a personal fundraising goal and mailed fundraising letters to family and friends. My kids and some of their friends helped with my fundraising efforts too by selling lemonade and baked goods. Before I knew it my fundraising goal had been exceeded, my family and friends were talking about the foundation and I crossed the finish line at the Portland marathon. After my mom passed away I decided I needed to run another race and raise more money and awareness for BTF. I picked a race, set up my fundraising page, set a fundraising goal and starting training for my race. Once again, my network of family and friends are supporting my fundraising efforts and on May 4th I will be running the Vancouver BC half marathon. I am grateful that I am able to run and raise money and awareness for this foundation. Jeff and Carin Towne are two of the most gracious people I have ever met and I will continue to support their foundation until a cure is found.

What led you to think about this idea?

I have run other races and raised money for other charities in the past so I was thrilled when I saw that I could run a marathon and raise money for Ben Towne Foundation. I enjoy running with my girlfriends and when you are raising money for such an important cause it makes crossing the finish an even more meaningful experience.

*Thank you so much Jenn – you are an inspiration to us!  We will be thinking of you on May 4th! For more information about how to join Team BTF, please click here.