Wings of Karen: a race to save lives

Macee Vadney, Assistant News Editor

Girls, look around the room you sit in. One in eight of you will develop invasive breast cancer in your lifetime.

It seems to be a matter of when you will be diagnosed, rather than if you will be diagnosed. In 2017, it’s been estimated that about 30 percent of newly diagnosed cancers in women will be a form of breast cancer.

Wings of Karen has made it their mission to reduce that number by donating money to research.
They are a local non-profit breast cancer organization based out of Maple Valley. Their main objective is funding promising research which includes, but is not limited to, treatment, prevention, and detection of the disease.

“We can’t wait another lifetime to find a cure, which is why Wings of Karen funds research with a sense of urgency,” Founder of Wings of Karen, Kristi Blair said.

Blair created this non-profit in 2012 in honor of her mother after she passed away from her own breast cancer battle.

“My aim is to empower those affected in my community and beyond through education, support, resilience, and compassion,” Blair said.


Blair’s program is also used to advocate for younger women whose lives face the threat of this disease. The organization empowers through social media by educating and updating on the latest research findings.

Wings of Karen has recognized the importance in reaching younger women, funding early detection research and bringing attention to the potentially lifesaving method of self-examination.

“You are your own best advocate when it comes to your health,” Blair said. “It could save your life to get informed.”

Liberty High School partners with the foundation throughout the school year. Patriot in Pink week is one week in October that is dedicated to breast cancer.

“I think it’s a strong partnership in that it gives the opportunity for students to work with a local foundation,” Liberty high school ASB teacher Michelle Munson said.

This year, Liberty raised money that went to the Cancer Vaccine Institute. One-hundred percent of the proceeds were donated to the cause; none of it was pocketed by the school nor the organization. This year around 5,000 dollars was raised.

“The power of one is incredible, but the overwhelming power of a young student body engaged in the fight against breast cancer is both inspiring and impactful,” Blair said.

By addressing the topic of breast cancer, Liberty allows the student body to become aware of the necessary funding and research. It also allows the students to support those around them facing cancer.

“We are so grateful for [Liberty’s] active participation in funding cures. You are creating a brighter future. Young heroes,” Blair said.

Wings of Karen strongly believes that donors should know where their money goes and how it’s transformed into hope. That’s what sets them apart from other organizations such as Susan G Komen.

“Wings of Karen is impactful because of our grassroots approach and connection to the community, our volunteer-based operation, our connection to local sponsors and donors, and our partnership with local research institutions,” Blair said.

This local organization intends to put an end to the one in eight statistic.