During her teenage years, Cara Becker developed a personal relationship with the underdog. Her struggles motivated her to give the best of herself to help others who struggled with personal challenges of their own. Cara showed us that we all have the ability to help others, even when we are in need of help ourselves. Cara’s ability to remain compassionate and interested in others during the most challenging time` of her life can serve as a source of inspiration for us all.
Cara’s greatest struggle came in August of 2012 when she was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (“APL”). One day she was healthy, enjoying Lollapalooza with her friends and family. Seemingly the next, Cara was admitted to Johns Hopkins Hospital. She spent weeks at a time in the hospital, which presented a lot of time to think about her life, her situation, and how fortunate she was to have such a dedicated and solid support system. She knew and witnessed so many others battling alone, without the support system or the care resources they needed.
Seeing the stark contrast between her circumstances and those of the patients around her moved Cara to act—in small ways at first. Candy given to Cara by friends was then given by Cara to patients in the pediatric ward. Her idea was simply to create some good Karma.
The logical extension of her personal giving, Karma for Cara was conceived in Cara’s hospital room. During her four months in treatment at Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, she noticed the incredible amount of blood that was needed for leukemia patients. As a way to help others and to thank the hospital for her excellent care, Cara and her family and friends organized three blood drives in Baltimore and Chicago, calling the drives “Karma for Cara Blood Drives.”
As her treatment came to an end, and it appeared she had overcome leukemia, she wrote:
Those who knew Cara understood life was not easy for her. She endured many unpredictable and unexplained complications. In high school, a routine operation ended with Cara in a five-day coma due to hypernatremia. Yet Cara never allowed herself drown in self-pity. The opposite was true. In that moment, and countless others like it, her spirit grew. Her struggles never prevented her from living greatly. This mindset fueled her audacious goals of helping others even when she herself was in such great need.
Today, and every day, Cara Gwen Becker is our inspiration.