In the fall of 2017, Kacie Jackson was serving up cups of joe at Saxbys roastery in downtown Philadelphia when, all of a sudden, a stampede of run-walkers in blue boxers and briefs passed by.
“This young boy and his dad walked into the shop with medals on and were each holding a pair of boxers,” Kacie said. “I asked them what was going and the dad told me, ‘It’s the Undy RunWalk for colorectal cancer. I’m walking with my son because I have colon cancer.’”
Kacie could not believe it. Kacie’s mother, Catherine (also called “Kitty”), had stage-IV colon cancer and was undergoing treatment at the time, but nothing was working.
“I told them about my mom and that's when the young boy held up his pair of boxers and said, ‘Please give these to your mom,’” Kacie said. “I almost cried right then and there.”
Kacie went home that day and shared with her mom what had happened and how they needed to get involved with the next Undy. Unfortunately, that following September, when the Undy was taking place, Kacie’s mom was really sick and they could not attend. A few months later in January of 2019, Catherine passed away at age 52.
Remembering the special boxers, Kacie decided to sign up for the 2019 Philadelphia Undy RunWalk and created her own team called, “No One Fights Alone.”
“I was really nervous before the race, but then when I got there and saw how many people contributed to being there for my family—it meant so much,” Kacie said.
“It was also nice seeing the different ways people made light of a bad situation,” Kacie said.
“There was one couple that was walking together and sharing this giant pair of underwear!”
Recently, Kacie’s boss told her to start planning and fundraising for the 2020 Philadelphia Undy so that the whole company could get involved. Excited, Kacie went onto the Alliance’s website for some ideas.
“I was just scrolling around on the website and then saw that there were more volunteer opportunities that I didn’t know about,” Kacie said. “I knew I would be involved in the Undy no matter what, but I was excited to learn about the Alliance’s Buddy program.”
A Buddy is an Alliance volunteer who shares his or her experience and expertise by volunteering as a peer-to-peer Buddy to another patient, survivor, or family member.
“As a Buddy, I know I could talk to a mom that is maybe worried about leaving her kids and tell her what my mom did for us when she got sick,” Kacie said. “When my mom learned about her cancer, she wrote notes for my siblings and I to read on big life moments such as graduations and wedding days.”
Kacie understands the importance of having a buddy and not feeling alone.
“When your loved one is sick and you don’t know about a place like the Alliance ... you think you’re alone,” Kacie said. “That little boy giving me that pair of boxers to give to my mom meant everything to me, and now, having this opportunity to help others not feel alone, I know my mom would be very proud of me.”
Click here to learn more about our Undy RunWalk events and here to become a volunteer.