Raising Hope: Andy Capmany
Welcome to our inspiring blog series, Raising Hope, where we feature stories of individuals who are making a difference for the autoimmune community through giving. From the heroes behind grassroots fundraisers to dedicated long-time donors, Raising Hope recognizes the people who help propel our mission forward by donating or raising funds to support our programs. This series offers a glimpse into the journeys, motivations, and moments that drive them to give to the Autoimmune Association.
Andy Capmany: Running for Something Bigger
Andy Capmany is a 22-year-old NYU graduate who recently participated in the New York City Marathon, a deeply meaningful experience dedicated to her beloved Tia Manina and aimed at raising awareness for autoimmune disease.
Hailing from Costa Rica, Andy was deeply involved in competitive soccer for most of her life, spanning club soccer, Division 1 collegiate soccer, and she had aspirations of going professional and representing the Costa Rican national team. However, during the COVID-19 shutdown, Andy decided to transition away from competitive soccer, choosing to embrace the sport purely for enjoyment.
However, the absence of a structured schedule, intense training, and regular workouts left her feeling directionless. She recognized the need for a purpose that would motivate her to wake up early, maintain a consistent fitness routine, and work towards a meaningful goal.
In January, she began a regular running regimen. Her New Year’s Resolution was to qualify for the prestigious New York Marathon. Fortunately, Andy secured a spot in the 2023 marathon without the need for qualifying races through the participant lottery.
While contemplating a cause greater than herself to run for, Andy deliberated on several options, including mental health due to her counseling aspirations. However, her perspective shifted when a personal tragedy hit close to home. In the spring, Andy and her twin were set to graduate from their undergraduate programs in the United States, and their family from Costa Rica was planning to join in the celebration. But then, Andy’s Aunt Karen, affectionately known as Tia Manina, reached out to her, disclosing a diagnosis of mixed connective tissue disorder. Because of her medication, Tia Manina was immunocompromised and wouldn’t be able to travel to the United States for the graduation. This compelled Andy to run for a cause that was deeply personal – the Autoimmune Association and, more importantly, for her aunt. Running the marathon became a way to lift her aunt’s spirits and raise funds for autoimmune disease research.
Andy’s training regimen includes four days of running each week, two days of strength training at the gym, and one day for a flexible workout such as yoga, pilates, or swimming. Additionally, she has participated in shorter races in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Costa Rica throughout the year.
As she delves into her role as a fundraiser for the first time, Andy has turned to social media, primarily through Instagram, to reach out to her friends and family, urging them to share her story and fundraising efforts with their social networks. She takes immense pride in crafting this narrative in collaboration with her aunt, as it has become a symbol of their shared strength. While her primary objective is to raise funds and awareness for mixed connective tissue disorder and other autoimmune diseases, her greatest aspiration is to support her aunt and be a source of positivity. Andy firmly believes that a positive mindset can positively impact physical well-being. She is optimistic that this will be the case for her aunt and finds great joy in sharing her marathon journey with her family and friends in Costa Rica.
On race day, Andy was thrilled that Tia Manina could be there to cheer her on, as well as her mom, sister, and friends. “The marathon was incredible. The energy and support were unmatched, and now I understand why they call it ‘the biggest block party in the world’,” Andy said.
Andy has received unwavering support from her friends and family, many of whom knew little about autoimmune diseases before her campaign. Through her fundraising efforts and discussions about her marathon’s purpose, they have learned and grown more aware of these issues. For those considering embarking on fundraising endeavors, Andy’s advice is to do it for someone you love. She emphasizes the motivation that arises from supporting an association or organization that can benefit individuals like her aunt.
Andy’s other crucial piece of advice is, “For me, it’s not about the total amount of money raised for the marathon but the number of people who contribute to the cause. I want to raise awareness for autoimmune diseases and the Autoimmune Association. The more people who donate, the more individuals will become informed about this vital cause.”
Organize Your Own Grassroots Fundraiser
Grassroots fundraisers are an essential stream of funding for the Autoimmune Association. Your dollars add up to make a real difference in raising funds and awareness. If you would like to join passionate advocates like Sarah and mobilize your own network, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to help you get started. Get it here.
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