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Virtual Undy 5000 – Team Vesta

May 23, 2011

Elizabeth (Betsy) Starman recently discovered just how much of an impact an online presence can make when fundraising.

In memory of her husband Keith, Betsy traveled to Nashville and ran the Country Music Half Marathon on April 30. Keith passed away 1 year ago from colon cancer at the young age of 42, after being diagnosed only 11 months earlier. By the time doctors had diagnosed Keith, it was already stage 4. Now a single mom with 2 kids, Betsy said she is finding out that the sudden onset of colon cancer with no symptoms is becoming more of a common story with younger men and women.

Betsy Starman running her first half marathon in BLUE, in memory of Keith.

To honor his memory, Betsy decided to run the race and raise money to help fight cancer. She saw she was able to form a Virtual Undy 5000 Team, and gathered some friends and family to form a team and to raise money for the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Betsy and Team Vesta raised $1,551, all with online solicitations, and most importantly, Facebook.

Living in Iowa, she said the Internet was the best way to reach all those from out of town. She sent out a Facebook message only twice, and asked friends and family that if they wanted to support her run to visit the Undy 5000 site and donate to her team. She then emailed those she knew weren’t on Facebook – and had just as much success! Betsy said she wasn’t involved in any “hardcore fundraising” – just a few simple asks and they had surpassed their goal of $500 by 300%!

Team Vesta before the race at Centennial Park

Members of Team Vesta wore some form of blue while they ran – the color to represent colon cancer. Eight individuals – 5 from Iowa City, 2 from Kansas City and 1 from Indiana – ran the half marathon even though all but one of them had never done it before.

The idea for the team name came from the 5 friends in Iowa. Every Friday, the 5 met at a bar/restaurant called Vesta, and they jokingly thought that would be a clever name for a team. It was a little bit later that Betsy realized Vesta was also a Greek Goddess that represented family, fire and home.

She thought, how much more appropriate could this name be?

The Iowan members of Team Vesta.

To donate to Team Vesta, click here, or to learn more information about forming your own Virtual Undy 5000 team, click here.

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