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Community wages ‘War Against Brain Tumors’ to help Bothell mom

Krystal and Tom Warwick with their three children.  - Reporter File Photo
Krystal and Tom Warwick with their three children.
— image credit: Reporter File Photo

Fussy babies, no sleep, disobedient kids - these are some of the things Nadya Tesar and her group of church friends have grumbled about.

But her good friend Krystal Warwick - a mother-of-three with a terminal brain tumor - has helped them to put their lives into perspective.

“She said, ‘I’d love to go back to that, these things are going to fly by - enjoy these moments,’” Tesar recalled. “It’s helped us gain perspective and enjoy our little kids and everything that comes with them.”

Warwick was diagnosed with oligoastrocytoma, a rare and debilitating type of brain tumor, in 2011. Doctors recently told Warwick she has a 10 percent chance of beating the disease and last month she was placed on hospice care.

Tesar is now rallying the community to participate in an event she created to support Warwick. The 5 kilometer walk/run event, called “War Against Brain Tumors” will take place at 10 a.m. on Nov. 2 at Blythe Park in Bothell.

“I came up with that name [for the event] because her last name is Warwick, but also because this really is a war,” she said.

Tesar, who is also a mother-of-three, met Warwick about five years ago at Mars Hill Church in Shoreline.

“We support each other and help each other through our struggles,” Tesar said of their women’s group.

She recalled thinking about Warwick when she went into labor with her third child, who is now 4 months old.

“She would get so excited to go into labor, which is crazy. She saw it as empowering. She sees things differently than most people do.”

When Warwick first became sick, Tesar said she was deeply saddened to hear the news, but she thought her friend would beat it. Now, she is grieving.

She decided to create the 5k event “because she’s a sister to me,” said Tesar, who lives in Bothell. “In Jesus, she’s my sister, and we’re called to love her as a sister and that’s why. Because my heart is to support and love her and hope that this story can touch even more people.”

She said she has been “blown away” with the support she has received so far for the event.

When she began to look for event sponsors, her massage therapist told her to talk to Shelby Schenck, the owner of Run26 in Mill Creek.

“He already read our story in the Bothell Reporter; his heart was already open to help Krystal,” she said.

Schenck named Run26 in honor of his brother, Steve, who was born on the 26th of July and passed away from a brain tumor at the age of 13.

“It was really cool to see he already knew about her,” Tesar added. “It was crazy I came in to talk to him on Sept. 26, which is the day his brother died. They didn’t know he had a tumor on his brain stem. He does tons of marathons to support brain tumor research.”

Her biggest obstacle was getting the city of Bothell to allow her to have the event in November. City staff told her the process would take at least 60 days to process the event permits in Bothell and other jurisdictions. But Tesar said time was of the essence and she needed to set things up right away.

“We kept praying and then everything  just came through,” Tesar said. “The biggest thing was to do the event while Krystal is still here, so the fact the city said ‘yes’ is a miracle.”

The event is a family-style charity run, so people of any fitness level are encouraged to participate.

Event proceeds will benefit both the Warwick family and braintumor.org. Participants can elect what percentage of their donation to give to the organization, which Microsoft will match, said Tesar, whose husband works for the company.

Though donations will be graciously accepted, Tesar said the event is not about the money.

“It’s to bring the community together to not only support someone in our community, but to help raise money towards curing this, perhaps,” she said.

Cindy Sheff, Warwick’s aunt, said the family is “incredibly blessed” that Tesar and others in the community want to honor Warwick with this charity event.

“It is the ongoing support of our friends that gets us through the darkness of this journey,” Sheff said. “It is not easy to wrap our brains around the thought of a one so loved dying, and harder yet to prepare our hearts. We greatly appreciate the support of the Bothell community on our journey, thank you all so very much.”

More information

For more information about the “War Against Brain Tumors” 5k for Krystal Warwick, visit waronbraintumors.azurewebsites.net.

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