Meet a Mom: Tara Kuipers, Ambassador of METAVivor | Bergen Moms Network

Hi Tara! Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in town?

I have lived in Bergen County my whole life and moved to Midland Park 20 years ago. 

Do you have any kids?

 Yes! I have two daughters ages 8 and 10.

What is your favorite thing to do with them? 

My favorite thing to do with my kids is anything that makes them happy, but what I love best is when I have them all to myself on a rainy day and we do crafts, watch shows, and cuddle. It’s the little moments that matter most to me.

Are you involved in a business venture? Please share! 

Professionally I am a pharmacist, part time now since my diagnosis, at my family-owned business JTL Pharmacy in Little Ferry. We are a mom-and-pop shop, family owned and operated. We cater to younger children by doing a holiday shop around Christmas where children pick their own presents, and we wrap them. We also make custom Easter baskets based on interests, age and budget and offer Elf props and set ups to help spread the magic for the holidays in 12- or 24-day kits. You can follow our Facebook page for info!

I was diagnosed in March of 2021 with stage 4 breast cancer, also known as metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Since my diagnoses I have become an ambassador for METAvivor and I started a Color Fun Run in Midland Park called #LightUpMBC Color Fun Run. This year we will host the third annual one in Midland Park on May 19, 2024. I also helped designed a template and there have new been 14 races held around the country based on mine!

 Why is this so important?

With most other organizations when you donate to breast cancer a large percentage of the money is put towards overhead costs and awareness.  I would urge that before you donate somewhere you check where the money is actually going. 

What sets METAvivor apart? 

METAvivor is volunteer run so 100 percent of donations go directly to research for stage 4 cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer is the stage that people die from and those diagnosed with MBC only have a 31 percent chance of living past 5 years. I have lost two friends to this disease in the last six months. If they could find a cure for stage 4 breast cancer, we could essentially end death from breast cancer. 

We are also hosting a virtual event on Oct 13, 2023, where we will light buildings pink, teal and green in all 50 states and all around the world in the colors of metastatic breast cancer. “To highlight the uniqueness of MBC,  METAvivor designed a tri-color ribbon of green, teal and pink. Green represents the triumph of spring over winter, life over death, symbolizing renewal, hope, and immortality while teal symbolizes healing and spirituality. The pink ribbon overlay signifies the metastatic cancer originated in the breast.”  You can go to this link to donate or learn more about the campaign.

If you could give one tip to fellow moms, what would it be? 

Never take your health for granted. I went from being a normal 38-year-old woman to having a terminal diagnosis overnight.  

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?

This summer I completed my dream of going to all 50 states! This was a goal I had always had, but when I was diagnosed, I sped up the process. My daughters and husband went on many of these adventures with me and it was absolutely amazing to see what this beautiful country has to offer. We had some amazing experiences I will never forget. I cried happy tears as I entered my 50th state which reminded me that anything is possible. 

How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now? 

The community completely rallied around me when I needed them most with a meal train. Also, when I finished chemotherapy and started to adjust to my new normal, I knew I wanted to do something big. I came up with the #LightUpMBC Color Fun Run and posted a link at the end of February 2022. My mom prayed 100 people would sign up. We closed registration May 1 with 750 people signed up and raised $75K. At the second run we raised over $100K and had over 800 participants. This would never have been possible without the support of the community. The mayor of Midland Park also gave a proclamation to declare Oct 13 Metastatic Breast Cancer Day and they will light our town hall pink, teal and green. 

I am so excited for this year’s #LightUpMBC Color Fun Run and would love all of you to join us May 19, 2024. 

It’s a one-mile fun run/walk designed for people of all ages and abilities. You pass-through three-color stations where you are doused with color powder and a bubble station. We will have crafts, bubbles, vendors, karate, a clown and more. I really hope to see you there and walk alongside you, while together we raise money to get us one step closer to a cure! 

 

 

Join The Bergen Moms Community

Stay up-to-date with what is happening in-and-around our community with local events, community highlights, and exclusive deals.