Team Kris and Kayla Take the First Step Toward Making History
The K Girls Complete the Rockfest Marathon to Qualify for Boston 2013
September 30, 2012 – Hampton, N.H. – Kristine (Kris) Biagiotti, a native of Rochester, New Hampshire, and her 17-year-old daughter, Kayla, known affectionately as “the K Girls,” completed the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon on Sunday, September 30, completing the first step in their history-making campaign to be the first mother/daughter team to finish the Boston Marathon. Driving rain and wind made the seacoast course especially difficult for Kris and Kayla. As the pair neared the finish line, the rain let up and the clouds gave way to a peek of sunshine. Kris and Kayla crossed the finish line in five and a half hours.
Exhausted, hungry, and soaked, Kris and Kayla were humbled by the outpouring of support they received, and excited to have completed this first step to achieving their dream to run together in the 2013 Boston Marathon. “I think you can do anything you set your mind to… one step at a time,” said Kris. Kris will train throughout the harsh New England winter to prepare for the April race, using weights in place of Kayla until the weather is suitable for her to join Kris.
Kris has run many marathons for Kayla, but Rockfest was her first time running with her daughter. While Kris admitted that the race was a lot more difficult than she expected, their finish time was faster than what they had trained for.
Representatives from Massachusetts and New Hampshire credit unions were in Hampton to support Kris and Kayla. The crowd cheered on the K Girls as they pushed through the grey weather and cleared the first hurdle in accomplishing their dream of crossing over the finish line in Boston together in 2013.
The K Girls are sponsored by the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program—a group of local-area credit unions that raises funds for Boston Children’s Hospital. Kayla is a life-long patient at Children’s; she was diagnosed at the age of three with mitochondrial disease—a rare, chronic, genetic disorder which affects the production of cells. Kayla joined the Credit Unions Kids at Heart team in 2003 as a way to turn the negative experiences associated with the Hospital into something positive. Each Through the program, runners from the credit union community are paired with children receiving care from Boston Children’s Hospital. The runner trains for the Boston Marathon in honor of their patient partner. The two inspire one another, and often form bonds that extend beyond the marathon season.
For Kris and Kayla, completing the Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon together solidifies their already unbreakable bond. The pair has overcome a lifetime of obstacles, and take on each new challenge with determination and optimism. As Kris’ motto exclaims, “Anything is possible.”
About the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Program
Established in 1996 and coordinated through EasCorp, headquartered in Burlington, Mass., the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program provides funding for Boston Children’s Hospital. In 2012, 36 credit unions are program sponsors, along with a number of credit union friends, volunteers and business partners. To date CU Kids at Heart has raised more than $3.5 million. For more information about the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program, visit http://www.eascorp.org/team_biagiotti/cukidsatheart.html or call (800) 428-1144.
Follow the K Girls on their blog at http://teamkrisandkayla.wordpress.com/, where readers can learn about Kris’s training, Kayla, and their entire family’s journey in their quest to make Boston Marathon history.
Kayla Biagiotti was born on January 13, 1995. Kayla, a lifelong patient of Boston Children’s Hospital, started her frequent hospital visits as an infant. At only four weeks old, her parents, Kristine (Kris) and Robert (Bob), were advised to have Kayla examined by the Hospital’s Cardiology Department for a heart murmur.
Kayla’s first year of life was marked with multiple trips to the emergency room, bouts with respiratory disease, and open heart surgery at four months of age. Kayla’s case continued to perplex doctors until the age of three, when she was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a condition which affects the production of cells.
With a diagnosis, doctors at Children’s were able to devise a treatment plan for Kayla, which helped her lead a more comfortable and typical childhood.
In 2002, Kayla’s parents enrolled her in the Miles for Miracles program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Kayla loved the Miles for Miracles program so much that, in 2003, she joined the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program, which, through its partnership with Children’s, also pairs runners with patients at Children’s to raise money for the Hospital. Kayla has been a Credit Unions Kids at Heart patient partner ever since.
Shortly after the 2005 Boston Marathon, Kayla tragically lost her dad to a heart attack. Prior to his death, Kayla and Bob spent many hours training for, and running in local area 5k road races. Kayla’s happiest times were riding alongside her dad in her racing stroller. Bob’s motto was, no child should be left on the sidelines, and that especially pertained to Kayla. After his death, Kris Biagiotti established the “Run for Bob,” an annual 5k road race, to honor Kayla’s dad and raise money for two local charities: the Bernon Family YMCA Reach Out for Youth and Families program and the Best Buddies Franklin Chapter.
Kayla is excited to join her mother, Kris, in the 2013 Boston Marathon. Kayla will be riding in her custom built wheelchair, which was purchased through the generosity of friends and sponsors of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program. The Credit Unions Kids at Heart program is a group of credit unions that works together to raise money for Boston Children’s Hospital. To date, the program has provided $3.5 million to the Hospital.
Kayla presently resides in Mendon, Massachusetts, with her mother Kris Biagiotti, her mother’s fiancé, Brian Bridges, and her two brothers, Jake and Matthew (Matty) Bridges. She enjoys horseback riding, playing Challenger baseball, soccer and basketball. She also loves to swim and is very social.
Kristine (Kris) Biagiotti is the mother of 17 year-old Kayla Biagiotti. Kris and Kayla are preparing to make Boston Marathon history, where they will be the first mother/daughter team to complete the marathon together.
Born Kristine Kelsey on February 2, 1967, in Rochester, New Hampshire, Kris grew up in “The Lilac City” where she attended McClelland Elementary, Spaulding Jr. High, and Spaulding High School. Kris is still very connected to the community. She has many friends and family members that reside in the area, including Strafford, Exeter, Middleton, Rye, and Portsmouth.
Kris graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Electronic Engineering Technology from Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston, Mass. She began her career in 1987 as an engineer and technical writer for Northrop Corporation. More recently she served as principal technical writer for EMC from 2003 to 2010, and presently holds the position of principal business consultant at the organization.
Kris welcomed her beautiful daughter, Kayla, into the world on January 13, 1995. At Kayla’s four week checkup, the Biagiottis were referred to Boston Children’s Hospital for a heart murmur. Kayla’s first year of life was marked by many trips to the emergency room and bouts of respiratory disease. Not knowing the cause of their daughter’s health issues, Kris and Bob, along with the doctors at Children’s, tirelessly searched for a diagnosis.
In July of 1998, the Biagiotti family finally received a diagnosis for Kayla’s condition—mitochondrial disease. The diagnosis enabled the doctors at Children’s to devise a treatment plan for Kayla, providing her a better quality of life.
Being very athletic themselves, Kris and Bob passed that same love for competition and athleticism on to their daughter. From a very young age, Kayla enjoyed riding alongside her dad as he trained and competed in local road races. Bob’s motto was, no child should be left on the sidelines, and that especially pertained to his own daughter.
In 2005, Kris ran her first marathon for the Credit Unions Kids at Heart team, which through its special relationship with Children’s, is also able to match runners with patient partners to raise money for the Hospital. Kris ran Boston in honor of Kayla, and in memory of Marissa Broady, a patient at Children’s who passed away at the age of four.
Later that summer, Bob Biagiotti unexpectedly passed away of a heart attack. Kris did not let the tragedy triumph over her and Kayla. Kris began the “Run for Bob” in 2005, an annual 5k road race named in honor or her late husband to raise money for two local charities: the Bernon Family YMCA Reach Out for Youth and Families program and the Best Buddies Franklin Chapter. She has served as the race’s co-chair and director since the program’s inception.
Kris holds numerous professional affiliations. She is a member of the Society for Technical Communication, the Room to Dream Foundation’s Fundraising Committee, the Lifebridge Program Steering Committee for the Department of Neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital, and serves as a parent consultant for the Federation for Children with Special Needs. Kris is also on the board of the Save Our Siberians – Siberspace Rescue Fund (SOS-SRF).
Kris’ commitment to charitable work has earned her several awards, including the EMC Community Service Motivator Award, the Hockomock YMCA Red Triangle Award, and Saucony’s 26 Award for the Boston Marathon.
In addition to her charitable work for Boston Children’s Hospital and the Run for Bob, Kris has raised more than $25,000 for the Michael Carter Lisnow Respite Center as a member of the EMC/Respite Marathon Team and more than $25,000 for the Pan-Mass Challenge as a member of Phil’s Phriends Cycling Team.
In addition to the Boston Marathon, Kris has competed in numerous road races, cycling competitions, and triathlons, including the Mt. Washington Road Race, the Anchorage Alaska Half Marathon, the Patriot Half Iron Man, the Disney Marathon, the Pan-Mass challenge, and many sprint triathlons.
Kris presently resides in Mendon, Massachusetts, with her daughter Kayla, her fiancé Brian Bridges, and Brian’s two sons, Jake and Matthew (Matty).