Kara Larson knows something about bravery. She has become an advocate for courage – and her influence is growing. The Alberta Street retailer and Wilshire Riverside Little League mom is a recent cancer survivor who has launched an inspirational project called BraveryPDX to raise funds for Providence Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program.
“Luckily, a friend told me that the hospital where I was being treated, Providence Medical Center, offered alternative integrative health care to help with symptoms,” said Kara. “Through this program I could help ease side effects with homeopathic and naturopathic medicines that I had been familiar with since my twenties – rather than solely relying on painkillers and prescriptions. It was an immense relief to me.”
Kara has teamed with Tess Darrow, the owner of Egg Press, to design and produce a line of screen-printed BraveryPDX organic cotton scarves and letter-pressed greeting cards. All proceeds from the project will be donated to Providence’s integrative program. The first batch of 80 scarves sold out in less than a day and there is already a wait list for the next two batches, which should produce around 500 scarves.
“I’ve known Kara Larson for a long time and have always admired her energy,” said Darrow. “She is such a creative force. It’s an honor to be collaborating with her on the Bravery Project. It’s special to be working towards a cause that is so personally relevant to Kara. One that will directly benefit many others to come.”
“Knowing Kara all these years has been so influential and inspiring to me and in our family life,” said Jennifer Erickson, who works with Kara at the Alberta shops. “She is the most generous and magical person. Whether you have known her for years or have only just met her, she leaves a permanent impression on you. All of us that work for her will tell you that we have never had a more generous and caring employer than Kara. Throughout this journey with cancer, she has been the one holding everything together.”
“It’s so easy to fall down the Google research hole,” said Kara. “Combined with the stress of going through something so draining, I felt overwhelmed. Integrative medicine looks at the whole body. This is why I chose to donate to Providence’s program, and to start BraveryPDX with Egg Press. I want to help inform the public about this program’s availability and to help raise money for others’ treatment. Many insurance plans do not cover integrative medicine – which can be the most important part of healing.”
“Our patients will truly benefit by this wonderful and creative project – so that many will be able to access integrative medicine to support them in body, mind and spirit as they do their cancer journey,” said Dr. Ken Weizer, a fellow survivor with a deep personal commitment to serving patients through Providence’s integrative program.
“I’m very excited the funds from the Bravery Project will benefit the Providence Cancer Center Integrative Medicine program,” said Tamatha Everard, Providence Portland Medical Foundation development coordinator. “I’ve had the opportunity to witness the compassion and care of our integrative medicine team and my only wish is that this sort of program had been available years ago when my loved ones were battling the disease. It’s a remarkable program to have housed in our cancer center.”
“We were so excited to get this project out,” said Kara. “But there’s been one tiny setback. My cancer has spread. Now I’m on to ‘Plan B.’ My doctor is working above and beyond to find a cure for cancer.”
Kara is grateful and overwhelmed by the support she has received from the community and wishes to thank everyone who has helped with the bravery project.
BraveryPDX Scarves are available for $75 and cards are $5 each or $25 for six. All proceeds will be donated to Providence Cancer Center’s Integrative Medicine Program. For details on how to order, visit www.braverypdx.wordpress.com.