A Mother From Central Minnesota Nominated For LLS’s ‘Visionary Of The Year’ Award
A COURAGEOUS WOMAN VS. A RELENTLESS DISEASE
Sarah Larson of US Bank has been nominated as a candidate for LLS's 2023 Mission, 'Visionaries of the Year' campaign kicking off this week. Candidates across the country form fundraising teams, and compete in honor of two local blood cancer survivors to raise the most funds for blood cancer research.
Sarah was honored to accept her nomination and is taking on the challenge in memory of two of her loved ones who passed away because of Leukemia; her beautiful sweet daughter Kayleen, who passed away in 2013, and her father whom she lost to the same deadly disease in 2021.
LISTEN TO SARAH'S INTERVIEW
You can listen to Sarah's incredible story about her daughter and father by clicking on the player below.
JOIN HER TEAM - THE DRAGONFLIES
Sarah, through her pain, has pushed on to make a difference for others, leading The Kayleen Larson Legacy Foundation. Sarah invites you to join her team, The Dragonflies, to help raise much-needed funds for a world without blood cancers, between March 9th and May 20th, 2023. The candidate who raises the most funds during the 10-week period will be awarded the title of Minneapolis Visionary of the Year at the Grand Finale on Saturday, May 20th at the Marriott City Center in Minneapolis. Then, the Minnesota state winner will move on to the National Visionary of the Year title.
"As many of you know, in 2012 we heard the words no parent can imagine “Your child has leukemia”. Kayleen was diagnosed at the age of 8, with AML, one of the most lethal, and until recently, under-researched, form of leukemia. It’s one of those things you hear about, and think will never happen to you. Until it does. Kayleen fought a brave fight with all she had, and with her friends and family fighting with her at every step. Nonetheless, we lost her in May 2013 to this awful disease. To read about Kayleen’s journey you can go to the website for the foundation we ran until 2019 in her honor: www.kayleenlarson.org, or to her Facebook page at
Then in 2020, the unthinkable struck again, and my dad received a diagnosis of Myelodysplastic syndrome, which was to inevitably lead to AML and did so with that formal diagnosis at Christmas of 2020. In two short months he, also, was taken from us by this disease. We were stunned to see our dad, who had been younger than his years up until then, full of life, and one of our biggest supporters, taken from us so quickly and much, much sooner than we were ready.
My family is not alone in this. Leukemia is the #1 most diagnosed form of childhood cancer, and blood cancers overall are the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. But LLS is doing amazing things to change this. Since 2017 LLS has helped advance over 85% of the approved blood cancer treatments. And this benefits not just people diagnosed with blood cancer since some of this research has also yielded knowledge about cancer biology that is relevant to other cancers as well.
I am really excited about the research that is underway as a result of the Beat AML campaign that LLS launched in 2013. This research will save lives! And in 2018 we were excited when LLS launched the Children’s Initiative, now called Dare to Dream, which is raising funds for research specific to blood cancer in children. Up until now the treatments used for children are adaptations of treatments developed for adults. But children are not just small adults and they need different treatments! The goal of Dare to Dream: “We seek nothing less than a total transformation of the treatment for children and young adults with blood cancer”, is a goal near and dear to my heart. You can check out both of these exciting projects from links you will find on the LLS home page.
In honor of two of my favorite people who should still be here, I am running during the 10th anniversary of my daughter’s last days to raise as much money as I can to help fund the amazing research underway to find cures and better treatments for AML and for childhood versions of AML too. These breakthroughs that are coming weren’t in time for my family, but they will be in time for someone else if we all work together! "