Make Waves for LLS

Ultra Modern Pool & Patio raises funds for blood cancer research

When Kara Weed, managing partner of Ultra Modern Pool & Patio in Wichita, Kansas, decided to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, she didn’t stop there — she recruited staff, friends and family to the cause, as well. 

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Earlier in the year, Weed accepted a nomination to participate in the Kansas chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2023 Visionaries of the Year Campaign. Teams in the area set a goal to raise $500,000 from March until June. Weed’s team — Make Waves for LLS — had an individual goal to raise $75,000 for research toward CAR T-Cell therapy treatments for children, a type of cell-based gene therapy designed to help immune cells attack cancer cells. It was the research on children’s treatment that initially inspired Weed to support the society. 

“I am a mom of a 2-year-old, and it really hit home the effects these cancers can have on young people and the need for treatment designed specifically for children,” Weed says.

Through the fundraising process, Weed learned she had a personal connection to the cause. She discovered her grandmother, who had passed away when Weed was 5 years old, had been diagnosed with lymphoma. She also learned many people had a similar connection. 

“It seemed like everyone I talked to had been personally affected in some way by a form of leukemia or lymphoma,” Weed says. 

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After solidifying her connection to the cause, it didn’t take Weed and her team long to plan several fundraising events, including a raffle for a hot tub donated by Ultra Modern and Hot Spring Spas, a bingo night and a dueling pianos event with an auction. They also partnered with various restaurants for “give back” nights, where proceeds of sales made were donated to the cause. 

On June 3, the team capped off the campaign with a final celebration that included a silent and live auction. Weed’s team raised over $82,000, exceeding their goal and making them the winner of all the participating area teams. Collectively, all area teams raised $398,448 to be split between research, patient assistance and advocacy.

Looking back on an action-packed 11 weeks of fundraising, Weed expressed gratitude for the support she received from her team at Ultra Modern as well as from others in the industry. 

“I was amazed at the support from my colleagues and friends in the industry, including Ohio Pool & Spa, Isaacs Pool & Spa, Arvidson’s, Pool Doctor of Rhode Island, Swimming Pool Services, Leisure Concepts, BioLab, Covana, Homecrest, Hot Spring, Gemini Effect and many more,” Weed reflects. “It’s important to give back because it impacts so many people when you do. I have the network, means and capability to do so, and it is so fulfilling.”