By Wyndi Kappes
Alyssa Barton knows what it means to give everything she has to help those around her. As a mother of three daughters, a volunteer for the Special Olympics in her hometown and a health and fitness coach, she’s made it her mission to empower those around her to do things they never thought possible. And sometimes, the impossible seems quite insurmountable.
Barton went up against her biggest challenge when both of her daughters were diagnosed with cancer. Her daughter Maia was diagnosed with B-Cell Leukemia at age 8, and Ariana was diagnosed with T-Cell at 18. “Those were the darkest days of my life, and the only way I got through those years was to put one foot in front of the other and do exactly what needed to be done,” Barton recalls. “The community surrounding us was so supportive when it came to meals, taking an absence from work, running errands, etc.”
As her community supported her and her daughters, who both fought and won their battles with cancer, Barton turned her attention to helping others who were dealing with a cancer diagnosis. “Four years ago, I created a charity event called ‘Ride 4 Research,’ which benefits all childhood cancer research. Each year, with the help of an organization called Curing Kids Cancer, we choose a new grant to fund. To date, we’ve been able to raise more than $200,000 and 100 percent of all monies raised go directly to the cause, which is so amazing. I’m so proud of what the community has enabled us to accomplish—but we can’t stop there,” Barton said.
Barton works daily to find balance in her life as a mother, philanthropist and individual so she can do more for her community. “I make sure that I eat right, exercise, see my girlfriends, travel with my husband and family, and bake for people I care about,” she says of her pseudo- self-care routine.
And when times get tough, Barton always finds inspiration from her daughters’ cancer journeys believing “anything she does in her
lifetime will never come close to what they have already achieved. My wish is that more people in our community would focus their attention on making positive changes. Imagine what our world would look like if the majority of our population simply “paid it forward?”