Kirstin Erni


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Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation is the only non-profit organization in North America exclusively dedicated to finding a cure and improving the quality of life for those affected by cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer). Approximately 10,000 people in the United States are diagnosed each year with this hard-to-diagnose, difficult-to-treat, fatal type of cancer. Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare but deadly cancer that has very little name recognition or awareness. Due to this lack of visibility, it is often overlooked as symptoms can mimic those of other illnesses and diagnosis comes too late. Conventional cancer treatments remain ineffective against cholangiocarcinoma, and most people diagnosed with advanced disease have less than a 5% chance of surviving at least five years. While almost 2 out of 3 people with bile duct cancer are 65 or older, people of nearly any age can be diagnosed. There has been an alarming increase in the past decade of young individuals being diagnosed in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s.

Your support of TeamCCF will significantly enhance awareness and recognition of bile duct cancer and raise critical funds for research, outreach and education to serve all those affected by cholangiocarcinoma.


2020 Bank of America Chicago Marathon
October 11, 2020
 Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. This is something that I hold close to my heart and I am so happy that I can share it with you all!

First of all, let me tell you WHY I am running 26.2 miles: I lost my beautiful mom, Mary, on Christmas Eve of 2018. It was sudden and it was devastating. I decided that I needed to do something to bring awareness to this terrible cancer that took her away from us way too soon. So, I have decided to run my first marathon in her honor while raising much needed money for the Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation. This cancer is so rare and so sudden that my mom sadly passed away 3 weeks after diagnosis. She fought so hard those 3 weeks but she had no fighting chance. My once healthy and spunky mom was taken from us so quickly. We barely had time to even process what was happening. It was an experience I hope that no one else has to ever go through. With this being said, running has truly saved my life. It has helped me find a purpose in life without my mom and my best friend. It has also helped me fight for her. As I raise money and prepare for this run, I hope that I am able to inspire others. I hope that everyone can find a way to move forward after an unimaginable loss. Here's to moving forward and finding happiness despite terrible tragedy. I hope that you are all able to follow my journey and I am able to bring hope to others.

Now, let me tell you about my beautiful mom. She was an incredible woman and when she was taken from us the world lost a beautiful soul. She was the one person who knew me better than I knew myself and the person that I could call when I just didn’t know what to do. She was the person that was not only in my circle, but always in my corner. She was the person that ALWAYS asked me to text her when I made it home safely. She was the one person that cared about every single little detail of everyone's lives because every person in her life was that important to her. She was one of the only people who truly got me and never judged me. The day that my mom died she took my whole world with her. 

My mom’s smile could light up a room in a second. She was one of those people that you wanted at every gathering because you knew she would be the life of the party. She loved life so much and she truly lived each day to the fullest. I would do anything to hear her voice one more time or just give her one more hug. I will never understand why she was taken from us so soon, but I do believe that there was a reason. I know she is still within all of us and she is helping us make it through this crazy world. SO many people were touched by my mom's presence and I know that even though she is no longer with us she will continue to touch our lives in remarkable ways. I never want her to be forgotten and I hope to always keep her amazing memory alive. If you are ever having a tough day just take a moment to think about my mom. She would never let a bad day get to her and she always saw the positive in all situations. So together we can honor this incredible woman by supporting this amazing foundation and donating in her name. We must work together so that no other family goes through this heartbreak.

The Chicago Marathon seems like just a dream that I never thought I would be a part of. Chicago has become my home the past 8 years and it is a city that I hold close to my heart. This city has helped me grow as a person and I have met the most amazing people. I can't wait to represent such an amazing foundation as I run through this beautiful city. Together we will come together wearing green and running for those we have lost and those still fighting. Can't wait to see you all in Chicago!

Lastly, as my mom said numerous times during those final days, “We’ve got this guys!”, and don't worry mom I've got this and I will not let you down. Together we will fight for you and we will continue to keep your memory alive! We all miss you and we love you so much! Nothing will stop me from honoring you in this special day! Here we go!!!

Donations2Date: $1,470

Donor Donation Amount Donation Date Comment
Jeanine Nosker $27.50 6/17/2020
Alexis Olinger $20.00 6/17/2020
DeAdra Estelle $25.00 6/11/2020
Anonymous Donor $10.00 6/9/2020 Happy birthday!
Elizabeth Kaufman $25.00 6/9/2020 Happy Birthday ! So proud of you !
Kaye and Stuart Hooks $250.00 6/9/2020 Happy birthday Kirstin! You’ve got this!! We love you!
Abigail Price $50.00 6/9/2020 Happy birthday Kirstin, and good luck for your training! Well done you, for such a special cause. Love from over the pond x
Elizabeth Kaufman $27.50 5/10/2020 Happy Mother’s Day ! You will always be thought of as a great mother ... full of energy and love!
Gwendoline Piratzky $110.00 5/5/2020 Running is the weirdest thing, it can be so difficult, but also really wonderful and very cathartic. So cool that you're doing this!
Hannah Mazzie $50.00 5/5/2020 So proud of you friend! #allformar
Dawson Early $50.00 5/4/2020
Hans Erni $25.00 5/4/2020 You go Kiki
Anonymous Donor $250.00* 3/13/2020
Deborah Armil $100.00 2/13/2020
Mark Whalen $25.00 1/12/2020
Kristen Tucker $25.00 12/20/2019
Sara Licata $100.00 10/31/2019 Nora says- you got this, Aunt Kiki!!!!
Elizabeth Kaufman $100.00 10/22/2019 Keep up the great work! You’ve got this
Anonymous Donor $100.00 10/22/2019
Julie Busg $100.00 10/20/2019 I am honored to be your first donor!
* offline donation