A Letter from Kristen’s Family

Dear Friends,

Thank you for visiting the virtual home of the Kristen Ann Carr Fund. The Fund, also known as KACF, was conceived by our daughter, sister and friend, Kristen Carr. When Kristen was diagnosed with sarcoma, a form of cancer, at the age of 19, she was told that her future was uncertain: sarcoma did not respond well to the usual treatments for cancer, and little to no progress had been made in finding treatments that would work. Kristen’s response was, “Okay, let’s change that”.

A native and lifelong New Yorker with a wide circle of family and friends, Kristen began brainstorming about raising funds against sarcoma alternately from a bed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and her off-campus apartment at New York University, where she was an honor student in Journalism. Those of us who loved her were caught up in her enthusiasm and relieved to think about something positive to do as a break from the fear that we would lose her.

Kristen received a near-constant stream of visitors during her hospital stays, but she noticed that many of her fellow young-adult patients spent a lot of time alone. Caught in an awkward place between childhood and full adulthood, and at an age when one’s friends and peers feel invincible themselves and ill-prepared to understand serious illness, the other young adults at the hospital often struggled without any close personal support, and the professionals on hand seemed uncertain how to talk to them. When Kristen’s room got a bit crowded she would encourage us to go visit with one of her new friends. When an occasional high-profile visitor arrived, Kristen would talk to them for a couple of minutes and then direct them to make the rounds to cheer up her hall-mates. And so Kristen had found a new cause: to help make people with cancer, especially young adults, feel less alone.

Kristen was often the glue in our relationships and one to call us to action when there was work to be done. When she lost her earthly battle with sarcoma at the age of 21 in 1993, we were heartbroken. But our path ahead could not have been more clear. The instruction Kristen had given us was to stick together if she had to leave, and to continue the mission that she had started. We could never have imagined that doing so would make us so many good friends, bring us into contact with so many brilliant people, and give us the opportunity to make such a difference.

If you’re interested, you’ll find more information on this site about the progress we at the KACF have made so far in fighting sarcoma and connecting young people with cancer to the support they need, including one another.

With Love and Gratitude,

The Carr-Marsh Family