As 13-year-old Lexie Kaplan celebrated her Bat Mitzvah this past January it was the purpose, not the party that was top of mind. For nearly six months Lexie had been planning “Spring Into Pink,” a fundraising 5k walk to honor her mother, Felicia Kaplan, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2012. For Lexie, “Spring Into Pink” was not simply a service project required for her Bat Mitzvah, but rather an opportunity to honor her mother’s legacy and help others.
“I created ‘Spring Into Pink’ so other women do not have to go through breast cancer and other girls don’t have to lose their moms or aunts to breast cancer,” said Lexie.
Lexie’s passion and enthusiasm, coupled with support from her father and friends who were inspired by the idea, made the inaugural “Spring Into Pink” 5k an extraordinary success. Lexie used her Bat Mitzvah as a kick-off for the event—announcing to her friends and family that ticket sales would commence the next day. Lexie’s goal was to sell 150 tickets, but within one day she had already sold 20 and from there the momentum multiplied.
By the time the day arrived on May 3, 2014, more than 750 tickets were sold and more than $75,000 was raised. Proceeds from “Spring Into Pink” will benefit the Felicia Kaplan Memorial Foundation to support NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore), Lynn Sage Foundation, and Bright Pink. The funds raised from the 5k will focus on breast cancer research, education and awareness initiatives, and improved care—all of which did or could have had an impact on Felicia’s life.
Felicia was only 35 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. After testing positive for a BRCA1 mutation, Felicia began an aggressive treatment regimen at NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center at Highland Park Hospital under the care of Leon Dragon, MD.
“Felicia loved Dr. Dragon and thought he was a fabulous caregiver,” recalled Gregg Kaplan, Lexie’s father. “She said, ‘If I am going to go through this; I am going to go through this with him.’ With NorthShore the level of care was so unbelievable. It made a rough experience a little more tolerable.”
After a courageous battle, Felicia passed away seven years after her initial diagnosis. Through Lexie’s passion and tenacity, her mother’s spirit will live on through a legacy of philanthropy. Funds raised through the inaugural “Spring Into Pink” 5k will ensure others like Felicia have access to the education, leading-edge research and excellent care that can save lives.
As Gregg reflects on the success of “Spring Into Pink” and the accomplishments of his daughter he can’t help but think of his wife.
“This experience brought out lots of emotions and pride, but also sadness because her mom would have been really proud of her.”
For more information about NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center or ways to support the innovative cancer care provided at NorthShore University HealthSystem, please call (224) 364-7214 or visit northshore.org/foundation.
About NorthShore University HealthSystem
Headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) is a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. The system includes four hospitals in Evanston, Glenview, Highland Park and Skokie. NorthShore employs approximately 10,000 and has 2,400 affiliated physicians, including an 850+ physician, multispecialty group practice with over 100 office locations. Further, NorthShore supports teaching and research as the principal teaching affiliate for the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.
The NorthShore Research Institute focuses on clinical and translational research, including leadership in clinical trials and medical informatics. The NorthShore University HealthSystem Foundation is the organization’s primary philanthropic entity. The Foundation raises charitable contributions and engages volunteer friends in support of NorthShore’s ongoing mission to preserve and improve human life.
NorthShore has significant capabilities in a wide spectrum of clinical programs, including Kellogg Cancer Center, NorthShore Neurological Institute, NorthShore Orthopaedic Institute, cardiovascular care, high-risk maternity and pediatrics. NorthShore is a Magnet recognized organization, the first in Illinois designated as a system to receive this prestigious honor that demonstrates excellence in nursing. NorthShore is a national leader in the implementation of innovative technologies, including electronic medical records (EMR). In 2003, NorthShore was among the first in the country to successfully launch a system-wide EMR with demonstrable benefits in quality, safety, efficiency and service to patients. NorthShore has been recognized by multiple national organizations for this notable achievement.