When it comes to running the race of life, Stephanie Berry knows a thing or two about perseverance and endurance. In 2019, Stephanie started Halfs for Hope, a foundation created in honor of her Aunt Jeannette who suffered from adenocarcinoma, a cancer that began in her fallopian tubes. What began as a one-season commitment to participate in a race for a cause has turned into three seasons of competitive running, through which she has fundraised and donated over $11,000 to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer (FWC). Inspired by the success and momentum of the last few years, what is known for certain is that Stephanie has no plans to stop anytime soon. “I’m not sure what 2023 holds or has in store,” she elaborates, “but there are plans to expand Halfs for Hope to include other runners to help multiply awareness and increase fundraising efforts.”
A strong foundation of faith, family, friends, and fun are what keep Stephanie going, and a resounding sense of gratitude for community can be felt in the way she speaks of her family, particularly her sister Karly Douglass and Uncle Kevin. Both Karly and Kevin are no strangers to showing up for Stephanie when it counts. Karly attends every race she can, donates every year, and shares social posts while Kevin has offered immense support both emotionally and financially. Stephanie’s family members, without question, are her biggest supporters, but her community expands even further. Her network of supporters has grown to include a host of people who interact with her on social media and others who donate, send encouraging texts, and even show up to races to cheer her on.
Undoubtedly, each person’s contributions, every early morning, the sore muscles, and extensive training are all instrumental to the success of Halfs for Hope. Stephanie explains, “When the run starts to become difficult, I always think back to the core of why I’m doing this. I think of my aunt and my family, I pray for strength, and I don’t let myself give up,” and in this way all of the discipline and sacrifices are worth it for the sense of purpose Stephanie has found in Halfs for Hope.
“In years and race seasons to come, I’m hopeful that the support continues, not only with me, but with the potential others who may join the Halfs for Hope cause,” Stephanie says about the future of her organization. Bringing people together for a cause continues to be the guiding light and mission of Halfs for Hope. The same determination and perseverance Aunt Jeanette fought cancer with is the same spirit and unwavering faith Stephanie has that running each race for Halfs for Hope and taking action in life is what ultimately makes the difference.