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Grassroots effort shatters record, raises nearly $300,000 for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Woman on a mission to keep her sister's name and legacy alive breaks records
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Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 03, 2023

WESTLAKE, Ohio — Lauren Larkin is a busy mom of four, a small business owner and a sister on a mission.

"I was hustling every chance I got," said Lauren Larkin, Team Forever Katie Strong.

We first introduced you to Larkin a couple of months ago. Her youngest sister, 29-year-old Katie McNally, died in December after a 16-month battle with Leukemia.

Larkin was nominated for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Visionaries of the Year. She accepted the challenge along with 12 others.

"There were some people that owned some of their own bigger businesses and worked for bigger companies. I mean, there was even a candidate that had run before. So, in my mind, I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm a stay-at-home mom/small business owner;' how the heck am I going to get some big money behind me, and the answer was we probably aren't," Larkin said.

That's when she knew a grassroots fundraising campaign was the only option, and Team Forever Katie Strong launched.

"We knew that we would have to be working hard for every single penny we earned; I think we really did," said Larkin.

A 10-week fundraising competition packed with more than 25 fundraising events: cycle classes, Jell-O shots, and golf experiences.

"I was not afraid to do anything. I walked around on Saint Patrick's Day with a sweatshirt that said donate to me, I'm Irish and then with my Venmo on the back," added Larkin.

On May 20, the winner was announced. Larkin was the winner raising $287,274, shattering the previous record.

For Larkin, her family and friends, it was a labor of love. She was also awarded The Justin Brazie Courage Award for her endurance, drive and courage.

But this is not the final chapter of Katie's Strong.

"It's inspired us; we're going to start a foundation in her name," said Larkin. "I want to be able to impact families in a bigger way," she added—all to keep her sister's name and legacy alive.

"I really do feel like it might be our family's lifelong mission," she said.

RELATED: Westlake woman on a mission to help others after her sister died from a blood cancer

You can watch more about Larkin's mission to help others in the player below:

Woman on a mission to help others after her sister died from a blood cancer

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