Crab Cake Row: Kira and Amy Babst tell Mom and daughter story before LLS Student Visionary of The Year awards

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We love a family that saves lives together! Let Kira & Amy Babst tell a mother and daughter story of fundraising for LLS Student Visionary of Year event on February 24th and Nestor’s role as the weepy MC from State Fare in Catonsville on “A Cup Of Soup Or Bowl Week” for the Maryland Food Bank.


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Andrew Steckel, Nestor J. Aparicio, Kira Babst, Amy Babst

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:02

Welcome home we are in Catonsville I feel at home here. I’ve been here all day I might as well make myself at home. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery. I got a handful of tickets left and we’re gonna be papists all day on Friday. I’m here until five today is the big game this weekend. On Sunday night we’ll be in Hollywood Casino. My wife and I are gonna go up. They’re gonna play blackjack. I’m gonna drink eyeballs. I’m gonna watch taped a door thing. So we’ll be up there nice and early in Hollywood Casino. Big thanks to Maryland lottery. I’m giving these out 10 times the cash. We had a couple of winners at the bar earlier. Here at State Fair. It’s been an amazing week, the final hour of our fourth day so our 32 of 48 more hours tomorrow at Pappas and Cockeysville don’t go to Glen Burnie your park filler Bel Air please. weathernation gives me a chance to wear the wacky had 866 90 nation with the floppy hat 0% financing for five years if you buy Windows now and I highly recommend you buy Windows but I’m doing doors this year wise markets giving me the scoop on this thing here and sort of inspire me to do this thing for the Maryland Food Bank. Caitlin Kirby’s here we’re going to talk about Catonsville and, and hunger and food insecurity and some other things. But before we do that, I’m doing my final segment here of sort of normalcy over here. And, you know, this girl was trying to cut class to come over here, I’ll get home at lunchtime, I can get out of school and I’m like, How about have you come at four o’clock? You know, I mean, I don’t want to get in the way your education because you’re gonna need all this energy to be the it’s not it’s visionary, and we’ll get into talking about this.

Andrew Steckel  01:36

So this is the student visionaries of the visionary you are the student

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:39

visionary. So I’ve done a lot for LLS if you recall, the folks over Costas, buttering me all up. They looked at Johnny Bravo me, they’re like, You look like Man of the Year visionary here. And I’m like, he better change your glasses on that. So but I said I would do anything to help you guys and I’m signed up for that. I signed up to emcee something a couple of weeks from now canceled a trip to see Billy Jones staying in Tampa just said no, I’m gonna hang with these people because they’re gonna be nice people, because they’re doing the kind of work that 10 years ago my wife was diagnosed it was awful. It’ll be it’ll be March 20 It’ll be 10 years. I’ve cried eight and a half times don’t make me cry, but you’re gonna make me cry and just echoes here. He is the campaign development manager LLS? If you don’t know LLS Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and Kira bass you’re at baps your email what you cats mom, daughter, and she’s trying to hook out of school you’re trying to aid and abet this opening day. And you you’re a survivor, correct? I am. Yes. Miracles Ivania survivor, she kit kidney survivor over here. So buy them Super Bowl couple Super Bowl. When was your journey and give me the whole story on this and then we’ll get to your daughter doing a really cool thing

Amy Babst  02:58

here. Awesome. So I was diagnosed June 12 2008. I was 38 weeks pregnant with Kira at time of diagnosis leukemia. I had stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:09

lymphoma. Wow. So you are Wow. And very pregnant. Very

Amy Babst  03:15

pregnant. Yeah.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:16

Wow. To two miracles here today. All right. Yeah. All right. Keep going. Yes.

Amy Babst  03:20

So I was diagnosed and on the 12th. I was admitted to the hospital on the 13th. They did scans and said, Yeah, your cancer is the size of a large Starbucks coffee and your chest and it’s connected like a vine of grapes, under your arms up and through your neck. So it was pretty, pretty scary.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:41

It was Where are you from? What part of town Linthicum Linthicum. Okay. So they said you were you M Hopkins,

Amy Babst  03:45

I went to University of Maryland and my wife was at Hopkins. Yeah.

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:49

So you’re very close. I had Hope Lodge on earlier this week. You know, people come from bfhi. And they, you know, are so fortunate

Amy Babst  03:57

to be so close. It was

Nestor J. Aparicio  03:58

1.6 miles from Hopkins. 155 Nights. So you needed someone to save your life. You needed a transplant,

Amy Babst  04:05

I did not need a transplant. I ended up they put me into labor to have her and three days later, June 16. How much is your way when you were born? I don’t know how much six pounds or so she she was 12 ounces. Incredibly

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:19

premature. She was a full size. She

Amy Babst  04:22

didn’t have to go to the NICU or anything. So we were very fortunate so

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:26

so you quickly make a baby and then fight cancer basically,

Amy Babst  04:30

basically, yeah, we stayed in the hospital I had, we haven’t ended up having a C section with her. She was born at 10 o’clock at night and by 10am The next morning I was in for a lymph node biopsy. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:42

what was your journey in 2008 to two full health? Because you look pretty friggin healthy.

Amy Babst  04:47

Thank you. I had six months of chemo therapy. I started two weeks after

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:52

chemo brain Yeah, everything dries out. Everything’s awful. Like okay, go ahead

Amy Babst  04:57

and then three months of radiation after that. So it’s tomorrow would have been my last radiation treatment, you know, 15 years ago. So all right,

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:06

man we give her she gets a bowl, not a cup of soup. Here, what’s your role in this other than being born and having a miracle for a mother? And I guess how old were you when you found out like all this is happening?

Kira Babst  05:18

I don’t even know. I feel like I’ve kind of known that as long as I can remember. It’s just something I’m so grateful for it to be able to have her, you know, around and do all these things and teach me all these things that I wouldn’t have been able to. I’m 15 I’m a sophomore in high school sport

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:31

and tried to cut school principal, which

Amy Babst  05:35

Mr. McCall Mr. Collins tried

Nestor J. Aparicio  05:37

to get out, but I’m like, Nah, now we can promote your cause here. Because I mean, you’re doing this thing for LLS and Andrew, explain this process of what the junior thing is because I am going to make me cry. I did. Man of the Year. 10 years ago, my wife was 80 pounds. She was supposed to go in for a transplant, she got thrown out because she wasn’t healthy enough. So they moved her transplant. We thought she was gonna lose your donor was awful. But I went to her event. It was great. It was It was awful. I mean, we everything about that night was awful. We thought she was gonna die. She was awful. People looked at her and thought, Oh, my God, she was bald, but looking good. But like I went to that event, and it was the event that Lee Tessier was Man of the Year. So this is 2014, summer 14. And so I went to that event that night. My wife survived once survived twice. And you’ve changed the events visionary now? Yeah. Can’t even be the man of the year. Yes, my chance. Yes,

Andrew Steckel  06:41

it’s visionaries of the year now be more inclusive. I mean, from a competitive standpoint, I don’t know how I’m assuming you’re a very competitive person. But there used to be a man and a woman of the year for the campaign. I mean, from my standpoint, if I raised the most I want to win at all. So now it’s visionary of the year. There’s one winner, it’s very inclusive. It’s It’s an unbelievable,

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:00

but girls and I compete with them.

Andrew Steckel  07:03

I mean, this I mean, from a visionary standpoint, the hardest point is actually competing with the students.

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:07

Well, so as a student component always been there. This

Andrew Steckel  07:12

is relatively new. Yeah, the DC campaign, they’re actually celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Okay, which is the longest running campaign nationally for student visionaries. We are in our eighth year in Maryland, and the rest of the nation. We have 75 campaigns nationally, they’re all celebrating around their eighth year as

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:27


well. Once you find out about this year,

Kira Babst  07:29

last year, I was invited to the grand finale event that your

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:33

mom won the lottery. She’s a survivor and you get to you get to go right.

Kira Babst  07:36

Yeah, we were invited a friend of mine. He’s a senior at Spalding. So I got to go last year, I wasn’t a part of the team yet. I was just there as a guest. And saw our team win. Like the team representing my high school won last year. So then I kind of got roped into it this year as an actual team member. Second,

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:50

trust me. I’ve already offered an MC What am I am seeing what’s this? What are we gonna be the whole thing I’m gonna shave, I’m gonna do my hair.

Andrew Steckel  07:59

Our grand finale is our big formal celebration, celebrating the students and how much they raised. It’s all of our top students. How

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:06

many kids are doing this with you how many you’re competing with and boys, you’re competing with it? So

Andrew Steckel  08:10

we have 20 teams across the state. There’s 43 candidates are team captains and we have currently 183 team members. So about 240 students are competing this year. You will

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:20

have that many for visionary will you like me to compete with

Andrew Steckel  08:23

visionaries? I believe right now. Our Maryland one we have, I believe four or five teams right now. They’re going to be we’re looking for about seven or eight. That’s very, very competitive for them as well.

Amy Babst  08:35

If you Ryan will help you.

Nestor J. Aparicio  08:38

I need to solve fields is what I need. You know, I mean, well, that’s what visionary of anything you know, but we’ll

Andrew Steckel  08:46

rope you in at Grand Finale. You’ll see our honored here. I Lonnie Meyers, absolutely adorable. She’s a seven year old who’s currently undergoing treatment, she better she hopefully Yeah. Which she’s, she’s going through a clinical trial at the moment. But at seven years old, she has gone through two bone marrow transplants which she’s had three car T cell therapies and now on her six clinical trial at seven years of age, you know,

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:11

my wife here she’s gonna make me do it. You know what I mean? Like, at some point, you know, I I don’t know that this is my year. But you know, but But there’ll be a year. Oh, no, some point.

Andrew Steckel  09:21

Well, trust me once you get to that grand finale. You see everything that these students don’t

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:26

confuse you. Like you are visionary. So why did you run and you said you got roped into this, but I guess you rent you saw someone else do it and thought this is out of your mind do it. You want to win but if you don’t win, it’s still doing a good thing, right?

Kira Babst  09:41

Yeah, for sure. Once you go to Grand Finale, you’ll see once you go you get fully invested in it. And it’s so cool because I have books that sir it’s just the time just kidding. I’m just kidding.

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:54

What did I sign up for again? What what what what? So what are we going to have good food we’re gonna have great

Andrew Steckel  09:59

food. But it’s a great celebration. You’re

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:01

gonna dress. Of course yeah, I

Andrew Steckel  10:02

mean, there’s there’s we have a DJ DJ Tim’s gonna be there. He’s fantastic dance. Oh, that dance party at the end of it is unreal. I usually have to kick everyone off because that’s like, and where is it a tribute? The BWI Marriott.

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:14


Oh, that’s easy. I can get a room dancing all night. I’m done, you know. And

Andrew Steckel  10:20

then when you see the grand, we had no fun last

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:22

time, I’ll promise you that, oh, you’re gonna have a blast. It was. Yeah, that was the night that we did it. And I wasn’t like, it was just a really hard night. It was it was it was a hard night. So I want to have fun this time. Why we do

Andrew Steckel  10:37

what we do is so horrible. But what we do and when you get to see it in person at events like the grand finale, or light the night or visionaries or leukemia ball that’s coming up in April, when you actually get to see the impact that’s made. It’s the most unbelievable damage students in Maryland last year alone raised $750,000 Big

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:55

stuff, Amy for you, this survival part of this and, and giving back and I think I said this kind of flippantly to Katie and and Dominique, when they did the show, I said we were leukemia doubt, you know, like, like, I toured the country and do swabbing people. And then my wife almost died again. And then I’m just trying to get her better, you know, and then my business and my work. And then Trump got elected and then the city caught on fire. And then we all wear masks. And I mean, I lost my mind. I was I’m just gonna run for mayor, the reason you’re sitting here and the reason the reason that as a checkmark, does that look like a political banner? Because it was made to be one. So yeah, we sent it off to the crab. But like, you know, we we got to the point and I know the work you’re doing is important. That’s why I’m doing it. Right. But like it. I can’t even talk about it.

Amy Babst  11:48

It’s hard. It’s hard. We got to a place where we didn’t

Nestor J. Aparicio  11:52

talk for a living. Talk about it. I’ll lose my my ish, right? I don’t want to lose it. I’ve lost it eight times this week. Yeah, eight and a half. It’s happening again.

Amy Babst  12:00

I’m not a crier, but a grand finale. Last year, I was sobbing just thinking about what all these high school kids

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:08

is, dude, I can’t do that. I’ll be there with you. Don’t

Andrew Steckel  12:10

worry. It’ll be good. You’re gonna be great. A former candidate in this campaign Senate is going to be able to do this. So we had a former cannon this campaign that said it best she is a survivor, as well. Her name is Mackenzie McCarter. She has devoted basically every waking moment to try to find a cure for leukemia. And the reasoning why the reason why she hasn’t taken one day off she hasn’t taken a break from this at all since she’s actually relapse is our she’s gone into remission is because she flat out says the people who are currently fighting they don’t get a break. So why should we take a break if we have the power to go out there and make that impact? Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  12:47

we did a lot and then it just wanted to play again. Like we’re just so I’m coming out of I’m blossoming. I’m here with you today. I just want to cry on the radio every day. But it sucks. It’s like just talking about it. It’s the seat cushion came from her donor. They went to the game Germany. NFL game, he’s German. So the guy that saved her life was bone marrow retreat from Germany. 19 years old. Wow. How are you? 15 You’ll be 19 soon. You drive yet? And that’s crazy. Don’t do that? Don’t are they all gonna call me sir. This Junior thing or this? What?

Andrew Steckel  13:28

I get the mister in the sir. And I’m like, I’m not that old.

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:33

Junior visionaries. Is that correct? Do student visionaries I’ve ever heard I’m already missing out the MC? Student visionaries. 143

Andrew Steckel  13:44

People like her how many 243 in Maryland alone, but we also have we’re gonna be there that night. Not all of them only looking at top team members, all the top candidates and team members will be there. All right. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  13:55

what are you doing the race though? Let’s go. I mean,

Kira Babst  13:56

I’ve done a couple of fundraising. Right. I mean, I have a donation link that people can use, but most of it is talking to businesses getting sponsorships from them doing fundraising nights. We did one at the ice skating rink earlier this week. And had people come I escaped for a couple hours. And we got a portion of the proceeds from that we did a bake sale, I guess

Amy Babst  14:17

bartended last? Yeah, at the taco bar in Severna. Park. What’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:20

coming up? Where can people come and meet you and support you? next couple of weeks. What are you doing?

Amy Babst  14:25

The team is doing an event at 45 in Annapolis this weekend so they can sign up and a portion of the proceeds are going back to the cancer wrecking crew team, which is what the team is that cures Wrecking

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:35

Crew. Yeah,

Andrew Steckel  14:37

I like that. The reigning champion cancer Wrecking Crew.

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:40

Yeah. All right. Oh, that’s right. You’re the reigning champs. Yes,

Andrew Steckel  14:43

they raised $168,000 Last year,

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:46

which is Spalding nickname. I forgot. You’re the Spalding Cavalier.

Kira Babst  14:49

Oh yeah. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  14:51

do you saw that really cool. Like dome down there. They play basketball in like a gym.

Kira Babst  14:55

Yeah, that’s we bought the new gym. Is it new? Not really. But our old gym has been there. Since the school was built, so it’s newer.

Nestor J. Aparicio  15:03

They used to do, it’s crazy because I just had the gal here we play basketball for Trish. They used to do a Christmas thing where they had like 16 It was a really big basketball tournament and it was at Spalding at Christmas time. It’s like during your break it was like a couple days after Christmas and I would add recovered it every year but yet a really uniquely cool gym as I remember. Yeah. Would you read all 97? There right? Yep. What’s the name of the row the you get the right for new cut new cut row? Yes, absolutely. I knew that before had Google as back in the 80s. Amy is here and curious here and and Andrews here Leukemia Lymphoma Society. He’s the campaign development manager. I tried to get titles right and all that stuff. But you’re doing so many things to tell me what LLS does at heart because I I’m always trying to educate people about that because I was not impartial to you or anyone else, or even be the match. But I work with DKMs. And there goes my hero. They wound up saving my wife’s life. And I had Michelle President Walsh on on Monday and their whole thing was swabbing people and feeding your husband and your daughter when you’re fighting right like so that’s what a hero did. LLS is really research based what I understand in the science of trying to save lives, as well as support survivors and support fighters. But LLS does a whole lot more than researching.

Andrew Steckel  16:19

Yes, we are very well rounded organization. So our mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma as well as improve the quality of life for patients and their families. So the goal of LLS, yes, we have the research aspect, we’ve invested over $1.6 billion, specifically into blood cancer research, which does make us the world leaders in blood cancer research. But on top of that, we do devote a lot of funds to help support the patients. We have a lot of assistance programs to help offset some of the key costs for patients that have to get hotels, flights, things like that. But we also advocate for future generations, we have over 30,000 volunteers on Capitol Hill who are out there advocating for health care support for our patients and their families. And

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:03

for you this fundraising you run to the finish line here. We got about a month, right? Yes, two weeks. Oh my god, it’s already February. Gosh, see, the reason I know about your date is like my mother in law lives in Sarasota. It’s a long story of Billy Joel and Stinger plane. And I like I wasn’t really going to go I just booked the flight maybe thinking about going and when you guys invited to like one that might go in and I just banged it. And I’m like it felt like so far away. And it’s like the Superbowl felt so for this crazy week, and I’m getting loopy felt so far, but it’s like the middle of it’s like Valentine’s week. I was like gallon time stuff here and now. Next week. Two weeks Saturday, right? Saturday, Friday, Saturday, Saturday night. All right. See my calendar. I’ll I’ll be there. I’ll shave out smell nice.

Andrew Steckel  17:51

I’ll make sure Katie harasses you,

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:52

I’ll cry. It’ll be all that. Well, congratulations on your journey, beautiful daughter and doing all this cool stuff. And your advocacy. I mean, I admire I said flippantly like we were luckyme it out. I mean that from just we were just we’re never we’re here to help obviously. But like, it’s hard. It’s really hard. How long did it take you to sort of be able to do this without making a Miss Ohio

Amy Babst  18:19

I got involved in a lot of different programs going back into like survivorship was the hardest part for me going back into the real world because everyone moves on with their life while you’re going through treatment and afterwards and Doug Ullman. i This always stays in my mind. He said cancer leaves your body but it never leaves you. And it’s so true. Right? I’m still doing things

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:41

with Brock yet so. Yeah, I

Amy Babst  18:44

did a lot of work with them to you.

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:46

Hoko your Howard County person and Rondo

Amy Babst  18:50

cancer to 5k program. Yeah. All

Nestor J. Aparicio  18:52

right. So you’re you’re Oh chi. Yeah. Well, thank you. Appreciate you, Amy cure are doing the I keep saying Jr because I keep thinking Junior Achievement because that a Junior Achievement bring student visionary. Good job. If I call you Junior, are you a junior sophomore, freshman,

Kira Babst  19:09


Nestor J. Aparicio  19:10

I’ll call you Junior. That’s an improvement. Call you Junior next year, I’d be accurate. Next year should be a junior right. Right now. She’s distinct. Sophomore year, almost there. Almost there. Trying to think of what it would be like to be like in school and wanting to cut out to do a stupid radio show. promote my cause and all that. I’m sorry. What did? What did I cause you today? What was like six, seven? Like if I would have hooked you out of school at 1230? What would you have missed today? What What important educational morsel that they give you at Spalding today.

Kira Babst  19:41

I would have missed my Spanish class. But that’s it. I have lunch them in theory. I only missed one hour. All

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:47

right. Well, I’m working on my Spanish as well. Thank you guys for what you do. I’ll see you in a couple of weeks. I’ll be well rested, shaved friendly. They

Andrew Steckel  19:57

will both be there as well. Yeah.

Nestor J. Aparicio  19:59

All right there Let my hair now look pretty juicy. You’ll see pull my cut my hair between now and then hope my back holds up. We’re here doing our final statement State Fair. Katelyn Kirby’s here she’s going to accept the good goods that the good citizens of the southwest part of town have brought us here at State Fair today. I’ll be passing copies for all day tomorrow from nine until five. We’re setting up I got guests tomorrow. I’ll go through the list in a couple of minutes. I don’t know who we have all all sorts of friends and foes and everybody’s coming tomorrow. It’s gonna be cool. I checked it out just like everybody today the game was pretty cool. So Pappas with great cupcakes tomorrow cup Super Bowl continues. crabcake row final segment we’re in Gainesville with a bunch of miracles. 123 we got all sorts of people who are survivors. I’m just trying to survive this crazy week I put together stay with us.

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