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Naturally independent, she started the process with an “I can do it myself ” attitude that changed after her second chemotherapy appointment when she realized that she couldn’t do it alone. “During this time, I had received so much support from family, friends, and people from the community. I didn’t know how I would ever be able to thank everyone in the way I wanted, but I was going to find a way. I decided to raise money for cancer research and in 2011 I raised over $5,000.” Inspiring Team HOPE L to R : Jen Carda and Karen Edler After she raised money for cancer research, she realized that she could continue to “pay it forward” by putting her efforts to raising money for those in surrounding communities that needed assistance. This is how Team HOPE began. “I wanted to help people after I got better,” she explains with a sincere smile. “I wanted to pay back what they’ve done for me as far as helping me, supporting me. I want people to know that they are not alone, they don’t have to go through this by themselves. That I will drop anything to help them in any way that I have the means to do. I will have the shoulder they need to lean on. I have the arms to hug them when they need it the most. I have the patience to listen, or just hold their hand. My heart is big, and there is plenty of room for me to share it.” With the help of a friend, Jen Carda of Tabor, the two began planning Team HOPE’s first event that became an annual fundraiser, their Team HOPE Benefit Poker Run. The Poker Run is always held the fourth Saturday of August, in between Riverboat Days and Labor Day, this year falling on August 26th. The route varies from year to year and always includes a BBQ, fellowship and a lot of fun. The benefit has grown every year, last year with more than 200 participants. Helping Many Edler and Carda, now as close as sisters, have fantastic teamwork and strong dedication that has played a role in assisting with more than 25 benefits since 2012. People ask Carda why her friend does it. “You have to put yourself in her shoes. She had to lay there and think ‘Is this sickness going to get me or am I going to get it?’ She got it. Now she just wants to do everything that she lost.” vHOPE continued on page 22 HERVOICEvMAY/JUNE 2017v19

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