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Local entrepreneur raising funds for blood cancer

Posted at 7:29 PM, Apr 01, 2024

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Each year the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society chooses candidates to be their Visionaries of the Year. This sounds like a great honor and it is — but it’s also a tremendous responsibility.

  • Video shows Jackie Koster, a business owner, daughter of an entrepreneur in oil, and Bakersfield native who's raising funds to benefit those impacted by blood cancer.
  • Koster has personally been impacted by cancer — having loved ones who've battled the disease. So when she was asked to help the LLS reach its goal of $3 million to help fund treatment and research, she said it was a no-brainer.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

“I believe we all have an ethical responsibility to come together and support those in need.”

Those of the words of Jackie Koster, one of the local Visionaries of the Year candidates raising money for those with leukemia.

Each year the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society chooses candidates to be their Visionaries of the Year. This sounds like a great honor and it is — but it’s also a tremendous responsibility.

“I’m born and raised Bakersfield, and so this is my home,” Koster said.

Koster has personally been impacted by cancer — having loved ones who've battled the disease.

“My aunt who we’re all very close to and I know a friend who just died from a blood cancer,” she said. “So I think it’s all very close and just pulls at the heart strings.”

So when she was asked to help the LLS reach its goal of $3 million to help fund treatment and research, she said it was a no-brainer.

"To raise money in Kern County and then all of that come back and then some, that's tremendous to me.” She said.

Being nominated as a candidate for the LLS Visionaries of the Year is no easy task. Each candidate is charged with fundraising over a ten week period. For Koster, that meant collecting $75,000 for the cause.

“That’s a lot,” I remarked.

“That is a lot,” she agreed.

But Koster is no stranger to hard work. The daughter of an entrepreneur in oil, she took that entrepreneurial spirit and ran with it starting her own business Key Staffing just before the pandemic.

“We started in November of 2019 right, which the pandemic at that point was not even a thing, and then March 2020 hits and it’s like everyone’s being laid off, so what do you do at that point, right? You just keep grinding, you just keep calling,” she said. “We did whatever we needed to do to keep our doors open and make sure this was going to work out.”

Koster said one of her biggest desires as a local business woman was giving back to her hometown, but she never expected to be honored with a nomination like this. She began campaigning in February to raise funds, planning events and researching to get more of the community involved and educated on cancer.

“Tell me how your perspective on this disease has changed?” I asked.

“I think it’s brought more awareness to me of how much it does affect just Kern County, and if it affects Kern County that much, how much does it affect the world?” She said.

One of the ways Koster is raising funds is through a Casino Night happening on May 3, and the Visionaries of the Year gala is set for May 10.

Note: While the event details for Casino Night list April 12 as the event date, it has been pushed to May 3.


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