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September 28, 2021


CircleIt's Head of Growth Marketing Has a Special Connection To The Technology


Living Beyond Death: One Woman’s Story

Breast cancer was diagnosed in 2.5 million people in 2020, and was the cause of 685,00 deaths worldwide. The brave women and men that face and fight this disease head-on are a true inspiration to their families and friends. One woman’s story inspired our own Growth Hacker, Joe Karasin, to join the CircleIt team.

Although my mom passed away from cancer, I’ll always think of her as a survivor. She was an incredibly strong-willed woman and I’ve always been inspired by my mom’s determination to live.

Jane’s Story: Faith and Hope in a Battle Against Breast Cancer

Jane Karasin was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991. Her children were young, 4 and 1 years old, and didn’t understand why mom was sick. Thankfully, Jane’s prognosis was promising as her doctors were able to catch her cancer at an early stage. She went through chemotherapy and radiation treatments and within two years, her cancer had gone into remission.

“We knew Mom had been sick, but we didn’t really understand what it meant at the time. We were young. As we grew older, we understood Mom had fought and survived cancer… but that was about the extent of it. We went on living our lives: enjoying vacations, celebrating birthdays, experiencing milestones and enjoying family life.”

Everything Can Change in a Heartbeat

11 years later, their world shattered. Joe came home from school and was greeted by his mom and dad. His parents quietly guided him and his sister, Julie, into the living room. Joe shares, “I have zero recollection of anything about this day other than this moment. We sat down and Mom looked at my sister and I and said three words I never thought I’d hear; ‘the cancer’s back’.” The kids and their father had no idea how much their lives would change after hearing this. “We were just shattered.”

Metastatic Breast Cancer: The 8-Year Battle Begins

After 11 years of remission, Jane Karasin’s cancer returned, this time with a vengeance. “The cancer was already stage 4, and they told Mom she had 2 years left. If you’ve ever meet my mom’s family, they’re among the most stubborn people in history – so 2 years was not going to fly with Mom.” shares Joe.

Jane was determined to be there for as much of her children’s lives as possible. Whether it was a football game for Joe or a soccer game for Julie – Jane never let her cancer force her to miss something important. “Her determination was really awe-inspiring. I knew she was in pain. I knew she felt sick. But nothing was going to stop Mom from living life. She insisted on still hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas at our house, which taught me a lot about the value of family. She also taught me how to cook a turkey that day,” laughs Joe.

Inspiring Her Son From Beyond the Grave

Despite being gone, Jane found a way to speak to her dear son – continuing to inspire and encourage him.

“I was with my dad at the house… cleaning up some of Mom’s stuff when I came across a small bag. I instantly recognized it as the bag she kept next to her bed. I was emptying it when some papers with her handwriting on them slipped out. I started reading and couldn’t believe it. Mom left me a letter to find.”

Jane’s letter was a heartfelt goodbye to her son, Joe. In it, she recounted memories of Joe’s childhood and described how being a mother was her greatest joy in life. Jane proceeded to share advice that Joe tries to follow every day. “Mom told me to appreciate the little things in life, be kind to everyone and always value family. She never needed to write them down, though. She lived her life to the fullest and was an amazing example of what living with kindness in your heart means.” Joe says with a smile.

As the years wore on, there were some scary moments. A 90-day stay in the hospital rendered Jane unable to walk. Determined to be independent, she went to physical therapy for months. “I think the worst part of it for Mom was that she felt like she was burdening us. I would have done all of the caregiving – every day – if it meant I could still have her with me,” Joe recalls.

At the end of February, 2009, hospice was called to make Jane’s last days as comfortable as possible. Joe recalls the one thing he fondly remembers “my mom was making jokes up until the very end. My parents had such a fun relationship; always teasing each other. Mom definitely got in the last joke.”

On February 28th, 2009, Joe was at his childhood home with his mom. “My Dad had run to the store and I was alone with Mom. I went to get a washcloth to wash her face and when I came back, my mom’s eyes shot open. She hadn’t opened them in days. She looked at me, then she looked THROUGH me or PAST me. She took two deep breaths and was gone.”

Sharing the Gift of His Treasured Letter

When Joe first learned about CircleIt, he felt a calling. The story of CircleIt founder, Art Shaikh, had similarities to Joe’s own story. “The letter Mom wrote is the most important possession I have, and CircleIt’s technology is going to make moments like mine possible for everyone. If what I’m doing is helping those fighting cancer stay connected with their loved ones after they’ve passed – then I’m doing what Mom wanted… live a life led by kindness and value your family.”