matters of heart

february 2015   
"Cross the Finish Line for Caroline": Why it's more than just a race


The Bange Family is all set to host their 5th annual "Cross the Finish Line for Caroline", a 5K/Fun Run in honor of their daughter Caroline, on March 7, 2015, in Bossier City, Louisiana. All of the proceeds benefit the Loeys-Dietz Syndrome Foundation.


Cross the Finish Line for Caroline is more than just a fundraiser event-it has consistently been the largest single fundraising event for the Foundation, raising more than $80,000 over the past four years.


Just as impressive is the story behind the race. Like many of us, Wesley and Jennie Bange felt lost when Caroline was first diagnosed with Loeys-Dietz. Little was known about this rare genetic condition and only a few individuals had been diagnosed. So they set out to learn as much as they could, searched for the best possible medical care, and connected with other families. But they did not stop there.


The Banges took it upon themselves to raise funds that would help advance research, understanding, and awareness of Loeys-Dietz.  They envisioned a fundraiser, planned out all the logistical details, rallied family and friends to help out, and put on their first race in 2010. The response from their community was beyond remarkable-the Banges aimed for $5,000 and raised $19,000 that year!


Beyond the actual race, Wesley Bange has been generously contributing his time and talents as an active Board member of the LDSF. And Wesley and Jennie have both been engaging mentors to other families who have taken on fundraisers.


As race day approaches, we hope you join the Banges. If not in Bossier City, then in their tireless spirit in racing towards a better day for patients living with Loeys-Dietz!


Since Caroline's diagnosis in 2009, people often ask, "What is it like living with Loeys-Dietz syndrome?" or "How is your life different with Loeys-Dietz syndrome?"  

These are not easy questions to answer.  In fact, it's quite complex.  Simple day-to-day tasks, such as going to school, participating in extracurricular activities, or even just eating breakfast are not as simple for Caroline.  It requires strict routines and excessive planning to ensure her safety and maintain her health.  Read more



"Cross the Finish Line for Caroline"

March 7, in Bossier City, Louisiana

Check out the race website to register online, become a corporate sponsor, or see photos from previous races.


Save-the-date for fun-filled fundraisers:

  • May 2, a concert near Nashville, Tennessee
  • June 20, "Clays for Caslin," skeet shooting in Hudson, Wisconsin



We are deeply grateful to the families of Allison Ruth Russcher and Laela Jennifer Dority for designating the LDSF for gifts in memory of their daughters who recently passed away. 


A special shout out to Edward and Charlene Backhus from Sarasota, FL, for their generous donation to the LDSF! The Backus' have been steadfast supports of the Foundation and Charlene also volunteered with the children's programming at our 2014 Conference. 


If you are interested in fundraising, contact us at

Welzoo, AmazonSmile, iGive & Bravelets

Surfing the internet? Ordering off Amazon? Looking for some unique jewelry? Did you know you can help generate funds for the LDSF with things you already do? Take a moment to see how you can help us raise funds everyday. Learn how to help the LDSF.


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