Veronica Kudulis isn’t living a normal teenage girl’s life.
Besides juggling school, extra-curricular activities and friends, the 17-year-old has also taken on much of the housework and tending to her younger siblings as her mother battles a brain tumor.
Veronica admits it is not always easy.
“My dad works a lot so he can pay for food on the table and have good insurance so they can cover treatments,” the Bolingbrook resident said. “It’s difficult trying to balance it all but I’m also getting a life lesson.”
Veronica’s mother, Mary Kay, is a three time cancer survivor, and is currently still fighting the disease.
Her mother’s participation with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life while Veronica was growing up led to the teen’s involvement. Mary Kay Kudulis was a keynote speaker during last year's event.
During the 2011 Relay For Life of Bolingbrook, Veronica was the top fundraiser, bringing in $4,067 for the organization.
She hopes to surpass that goal this year.
This year she is team captain of the Bolingbrook High School Thespian Troupe 3413.
The 2012 Relay for Life of Bolingbrook will be held Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10, at .
The kickoff to learn about the event and how to get involved is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the , 200 S. Lindsey Lane. The event gives the Bolingbrook community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease.
Veronica hopes people will get involved.
“Relay for Life is an important cause,” she said. “The American Cancer Society helps people with all sorts of cancers. It’s not like Susan G. Komen where they’re only helping people with breast cancer, or Livestrong, where they’re only helping people with prostate cancer. This is for everyone.”
She said the event is "worth it."
“You get to meet amazing people and hear their stories and how cancer has affected them,” she said.
Relay for Life of Bolingbrook co-chair Rich Johnson also hopes to rally community support for the event. He is a member of Team Depot, along with his fellow Home Depot employees.
Over the last decade, Johnson has seen a number of friends and family diagnosed with cancer.
“It’s very prevalent,” he said. “You hear more and more about it every day. There is not too many people who don’t know somebody directly or indirectly who has cancer. Getting involved is a way of giving back.”