Karsyn's Krusaders are Kicking Cancer's Butt - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Karsyn's Krusaders are Kicking Cancer's Butt

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) -- A night at the speedway is taking on a new meaning for families in Independence. As drivers battled to win each race Saturday night, others were marking the end of their battle with cancer.

Karsyn's Krusaders is kicking of Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and celebrating their first year of charity work, with friends and relatives at the Independence Motor Speedway.

"We call them our racing family," explained Krusaders founder Jessica Miller.

That family bond grew when doctors diagnosed Jessica's daughter Karsyn with Leukemia in 2008. The Millers were grateful they had each other and their speedway community. But after two years of hospital stays and treatment, she knows not everyone has the same support system.

"Although this situation is really terrible for us, it is very terrible for others and we just need to make sure all those organizations that have helped us are still there and area able to help others," Jessica said.

Now, Karsyn's signature ponytail is growing back. And if you look fast, you can also catch the blond curls tearing through the dirt.

In 2009, Jessica and a couple friends launched "Karsyn's Krusaders." The plan was to raise a little money for charity -- the result was amazing.

"In about three, four months, we had raised $11,000 selling t-shirts. We thought, oh my gosh, what could we do if we actually got serious about it?"

One year later, the Krusaders are officially a charity themselves, with three race cars displaying Karsyn's image and slogan "Kicking Cancer's Butt One Lap at a Time."

They've raised tens of thousands of dollars for several organizations and have helped grant wishes through the Make a Wish Foundation.

The icing on the cake -- Karsyn is celebrating her official end to Leukemia treatment.

"You can't keep her down. You can't slow her down!" said Jessica.

Saturday night the Krusaders honored several other people winning their battle with cancer. Five survivors, who are also big racing fans, got to throw the green flag at the start of each of the big races.

If you'd like to help Karsyn's Krusaders cause, click here.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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