Center rallies around cancer-free teacher

11055730_10205972343620004_3927958442035056168_nOrganizing a spring community fundraiser for a nonprofit is a tradition at University Kids Learning Center in Salt Lake City. University Kids is a CCLC center located at the University of Utah. Many parents work at the university’s Huntsman Cancer Institute, so many of the center’s fundraisers often have a health focus – like March of Dimes or the local Muscular Dystrophy Association camp. This year though, the center found a cause that hit close to home; Race for the Cure.

“One of my beloved teachers, Yolanda Carrero, who has worked here for 12 years, is a very recent breast cancer survivor,” said Heather Adams, University Kids center director.

Yolanda was diagnosed with breast cancer in December. As a 12-year veteran teacher in the infant room, Heather said Yolanda is adored by families and has formed personal connections with just about every family in the center. Yolanda was initially hesitant to share the news of her diagnosis, but as she scheduled her first surgery for shortly after the New Year, she decided to be open about her situation. Families rallied to support Yolanda, providing a solid two months of meals as well as things to keep her busy during her recovery – news from the center, magazines, and so forth.

Infant teacher and breast cancer survivor Yolanda (center in sash) says she will "forever hold in my heart the amazing support" she received from her center community after her diagnosis.

Infant teacher and breast cancer survivor Yolanda (center in sash) says she will “forever hold in my heart the amazing support” she received from her center community after her diagnosis.

When it came time to plan the spring fundraiser, Heather knew the center community would unite around Race for the Cure. The Race for the Cure is a huge event on the University of Utah campus, but more importantly, it was another way for families and staff to show their support for Yolanda.

All told, University Kids families raised $1,300, making them one of the top five fundraising teams in the weeks leading up to the May 9 event.

While race day brought a deluge of rain, the University Kids staff simply bundled up in their team shirts proclaiming “Big or small, let’s save them all” and “U kids for Yoly” and gathered at the start line. Knowledge Universe covered the registration fees for each employee and provided Heather with the funds to create team t-shirts.

Although in recovery, Yolanda hadn’t quite recuperated enough to run, so her 19 coworkers (most of the center’s staff) walked the entire route with Yolanda and her teenage daughter.

“It was a great teambuilding activity and so much fun,” said Heather.

The Race for the Cure was also an important part of Yolanda’s healing process.

“What I gained, and will forever hold in my heart, is the amazing support from my coworkers, management, and the fabulous parents who donated to honor me and the noble cause of the event,” said Yolanda. “It showed that together as a team we can make a difference in someone else’s life, and I love the awareness it brings. I have an overwhelming respect for Knowledge Universe in standing by me during this difficult time. A huge personal thank you for the company’s donation and helping UKids stand as a team and represent what unity and teambuilding is all about!”

The UKids team post race.

The UKids team post race: “Big or small, lets save them all.”

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