Kim Ballard formed Team Gramcracker in 2010 in honor of her mother, Becky Koesters, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. The name stems from a nickname, “Gramcracker,” that Koesters was lovingly given by her grandchildren. When the team was first formed, it consisted of mostly immediate family walking in honor of Becky’s diagnosis.
The 2010 race was special for Kim not only because the family was uniting to support her mother, but for another reason as well. In late April 2010, Becky found out she had bladder cancer and had her bladder removed the Thursday before the Race. Kim said no one wanted to leave her side, as she almost died during the surgery, but her mother encouraged the family to participate in the race while Becky’s husband stayed at her bedside. After the race, the family met at Kim’s brother’s house for a celebration meal.
Unfortunately, soon after her surgery, Becky had a series of debilitating strokes that eventually took her life in October 2010.
The upcoming 2011 has brought together many more people on Team Gramcracker in memory of Becky. At her funeral, the family spoke about the race and had a special board to share many of their pictures from 2010. The family asked for memorial donations be made to Komen and encouraged everyone in attendance to participate in the race. Additionally, they have used Facebook as a recruiting tool this year. The team has already raised $600 out of their $1,000 goal.
After the race this year, the family will again meet at Kim’s brother’s home for a cook-out. However this year, it will be much bigger and include friends, family and coworkers.
“It’s a very special, active way to celebrate my mother’s life- it brings family and friends together in a fun and positive way,” Kim said. “Yes, there will be tears, but also laughter.”
Interested in joining Kim or supporting her team? Check out Team Gramcracker today.