Time and time again we are asked how our team began. Here is our story:

Kara was a bright, beautiful young woman with a passion for music and children. In the early 1990s, she was sexually assaulted while on vacation with her family. As a result of the attack, Kara contracted HIV. Though Kara battled the infection silently and bravely for many years, she lost her battle against AIDS in July 2009. She remains sadly missed by her family, friends, students, coworkers, and the thousands of lives she touched in her 32 years on Earth.

In the weeks before her death, Kara's closest friends and family spent some very memorable, special times with her, listening to her words of wisdom and praying with her about their future without her. It was such a touching yet heart-wrenching time for each of them, impacting each of them deeply for years to come. One thing that was decided during that difficult time was that the rest of the "monkeys" would find a way to keep her legacy alive, by doing something to help an organization that would have been special to Kara. Most of Kara's closest friends had grown up with her at summer camp. All enjoyed the outdoors and felt it was imperative that today's youth be exposed to time in nature, away from social media, phones and technology. Her love of music, teaching, missions, and her medical battle also weighed heavy on the group's decision. Finally, her brother Jared found Camp Laurel in Pasadena, CA. The program takes youth living with HIV/AIDS (whether them or a close family member) and gives them a normal camp experience each summer and each winter, as well as provides them with a multitude of programs year-round. As initial contact was made with the organization, other members were participating in a race. One of them made the comment, "Sometimes all I can do is run. It may not be accomplishing much in society, but it's keeping me going, one foot in front of the other." Another said, "That's it! Let's make our RUNS count for something for Kara!" Things fell together quickly and in January 2010, the team headed out for their first run in Southern California to honor Kara while raising money for Camp Laurel. Kara's best friend was able to meet with the staff of Camp Laurel and immediately knew they'd made the right choice. 

When trying to come up with a name for their group, the team decided "Care" had to be in the name because of Kara's "Care Bear" nickname at summer camp. The fact that they were running eventually led them to the name CareRunners. Kara's brother, parents, boyfriend and coworkers made up the core team of leaders, and most continue to lead groups in charity races today. Her best friend of 27 years has recently been taking on more of the core leadership and is expected to lead the team in 2015. The team has grown in the past few years to raise money for more charities nationwide. As more and more members join the team, the core group remains focused on keeping Kara's memory alive while providing as much funds and awareness as they can for incredible organizations like Camp Laurel.