BERLIN — Breast cancer survivor Karen Cote raised $5,675 last month to help ease the financial burden for patients undergoing cancer treatment.
To raise the funds, Cote walked three to four miles a day for a total of 100 miles. She completed the last mile on Oct. 31 at the Veteran's Memorial Park, along with other 50 participants who joined her.
“I think everybody can do things like that,” said Cote. “I think maybe we just need a little push, and cancer was my push. It got me doing a lot of volunteer work.”
The $5,675 will go to the John Hayes Fund for H.O.P.E at Hartford Hospital Cancer Center. The fund, established in 2016, helps cancer patients with medical co-pays, mortgage, rent, utilities, travel expenses and other bills. It also provides families with gift cards for groceries.
Hayes passed away in 2019 at age 63 while battling kidney cancer.
“John’s firm belief was ‘If you believe it, you will achieve it,’” said his wife, Jenny Hayes. “Karen took it upon herself to give back to the Cancer Center. She made a plan, and she achieved it, she walked 100 miles in 31 days.”
Cote chose to donate the money to the Fund for H.O.P.E because it eases the financial burden for patients.
“It’s bad enough to get a cancer diagnosis, but on top of that many have to deal with financial worries,” said Cote.
Cote walked each mile for someone who suffered from cancer.
“When donors sent me money, I asked them if they’d like me to dedicate a mile to their loved ones who had to deal with cancer, or passed away from it,” said Cote.
In total, Cote walked in memory of 152 people, ages 2 to 90. She prayed for each as she completed the mile dedicated to their name.
“As I was walking the seventh mile, the mile that was dedicated to John [Hayes], I was praying for him. And then I saw butterflies around me,” said Cote. “There were many other miracles that kept happening throughout the walk.”
Donations to the John Hayes Fund for H.O.P.E can be made online using this link: https://giving.hartfordhospital.org/tributedonations.