Sisters Who Are Tough (SWAT) Raise More Than $15,000 for Leukemia Research

Group Walks to Honor Emily Kleisch Crawford of Chapel Hill

CHAPEL HILL, NC - Don’t mess with this SWAT team!  They collectively walked almost 7000 miles and raised more than $15,000 for leukemia research, inspired by the courage of Emily Kleisch Crawford.

Emily, a nurse at UNC’s surgery/trauma intensive care unit, was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in 2009, is currently undergoing treatment at UNC.

Her mother’s walking club, dubbed the Mama Hens, and ten of her friends, known as the Spring Chickens, committed to walk 250 miles by November 6th.  The mother’s group capped off their effort by walking a half- marathon in Charleston, SC and Emily and her friends made a 13.1 mile half-marathon effort at an event in Wrightsville Beach, NC.

“SWAT has really meant a lot to me and my family,” Emily said.  “The 17 women who did this for me are each incredible and have made a huge difference in my outlook this year.  They’ve given me courage, strength, hope and have loved me during some of my lowest times.”

“I feel that CML and other blood cancers have a real chance at new treatments being developed in my lifetime.  That’s important to me because I really feel like money we raise can make a difference, and I plan to live a very long time with CML, so I think I could reap the benefits of those changes.  That is all very exciting to me,” she added.

The “Mama Hens” group includes Emily’s mother Tresa Kleisch, Gail Bernstein, Ann Shepherd, Nancy Ball, Sandy Mascia, Jennifer Langdon and True Campbell from Greensboro, NC as well as Jan Capps of Wrightsville Beach, NC.

In addition to Emily, the “Spring Chickens” are Beth Minichbauer Bell, Lindsay Sutton Beavers, Ashley Purcell, Meredith Stone Smith, Laura Andersen, Morgan Masten Rutherford, Catherine Batson, Katie Storrs and Carrie Lever Janovich.

Read Emily’s first-person account about her cancer experience.

About UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the N.C. Cancer Hospital

UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the N.C. Cancer Hospital are creating the new face of cancer research and treatment in North Carolina.  Our mission is to reduce cancer occurrence and death in North Carolina and across the nation through research, treatment, training and outreach.  The N.C. Cancer Hospital – part of UNC Health Care – is the Cancer Center’s Clinical Home

Note to reporters: Photos of both teams are available upon request.