HLC Chats With Cara Haggerty

Cara Haggerty is the Program Director and interim ED of Hope Loves Company and has been a part of the HLC team since March of 2018. She graduated from The College of New Jersey with a Bachelor's Degree in English and minors in Marketing and Psychology and currently lives in Lawrence, NJ with her roommate Giselle, and their cat, Sonny. Cara met Jodi and Laurie at the TCNJ Career Fair and was eager to learn more about HLC because her boyfriend's father had ALS. From there, she began interning with HLC and began her full-time career with Hope Loves Company upon graduation!

Camp HLC Indiana, 2019. (From left to right: Elizabeth Harris, HLC Volunteer and Camp Leader, and Cara Haggerty, HLC Program Director).

(HLC): Do you have a nick name? How did you get it?

(CH): A couple people call me "Care Bear" and both came up with the nickname independently, which is kind of funny!

(HLC): What is your favorite childhood memory?

(CH): Traveling to Brooklyn to visit and spend the weekend with my grandparents, aunt, and cousin are my favorite memories! My grandmother was a very talented artist and she would draw in our coloring books with my sister and I. My grandfather would set out a spread of the best snacks (they always knew to have Lay's sour cream and onion chips stocked when I was visiting) and he would tuck us into bed so tight we couldn't move. I also loved when they would visit us in New Jersey and we'd dance on the deck, listen to music, and swim all day!

(HLC): Camp HLC is one of our wonderful programs. Have you ever attended a summer camp? If yes, what was your favorite memory about camp?

(CH): I've attended a few Camp HLCs and am lucky enough to be attending every Camp HLC this season! I'm so excited to meet the families that I've been speaking with over the phone or via email for over a year now and I'm just as excited to meet newly-registered, first-time camper families! I also was a camp counselor every summer during my college years and my campers were between the ages of 3-5 year, so that was fun! I've always loved working with children and enjoyed my time as a counselor. Next stop is Camp HLC Massachusetts!

(HLC): Who is your favorite musician?

(CH): I listen to Fleetwood Mac, Ben Folds, and the Rolling Stones a lot. I'm also loving Lizzo right now! I also love a few musicals - Jesus Christ Superstar, Hair, and Hamilton! I listen to a lot of different music and it's so hard to choose just a few favorites.

(HLC): Do you have a pet companion? If so, please share his/her name and what you love most about him/her.

(CH): I recently moved out, but at home, I have a yellow lab named Sam, and two cats named Doody and Booker. Sam is 5 and both cats are senior boys - Doody is an incredible 18 years old and Booker is 13. I know Doody is a very unique name - we did name him Floyd, but as a kitten, my mother would call him Little Dude, Dude, and eventually, that become Doody. Doody is my cat - we have a very special bond. He is very vocal and incredibly affectionate. He gives head boops and when I worked from home, he would sit by my side all day. I moved to Lawrence with my friend, Giselle, and she adopted a cat named Sonny. He's the size of a toddler and has the patience of a saint, as we bother him all day. I'm thinking about adopting a cat myself soon, too!

(HLC): People would be surprised to know that....  (cool fact about you!)

(CH): I played rugby in college! I played flanker, lock, and prop, though flanking is definitely my favorite position. I was even lifted a few times during lineouts, but I had a very difficult time keeping from flailing all over the place when I was in the air! Rugby was my favorite part about college and most of my college friends came from the women and men's rugby teams. I lived with my teammates my junior and senior year and I actually met my current roommate, Giselle, through rugby my sophomore year and we've been great friends ever since! I still talk to my rugby housemates daily.

(HLC): What is one thing you can share with others about resilience and adversity?

(CH): It's a cliche, but things do get better, sometimes you just have to wait out the storm. We are our own worst enemies - it's important to recognize that each step forward, no matter how big or small, is a victory and that "each setback is merely a setup for a comeback."

(HLC): What's your go to person, book, or movie for inspiration?

(CH): Dave Howell, who provides leadership training to both the HLC team and to me personally, is my go to person for inspiration for self-exploration and personal growth. My inspiration to work even harder to continue to make a difference in the ALS community is Jodi, HLC's founder, who works tirelessly for HLC, and of course, the families that we serve inspire me daily. (Additionally, if I need some inspiration for self-esteem and self love, I listen to Lizzo!)

(HLC): If you have a go to resource (website, blog, etc...) that you think would help others, please share it!

(CH): I set up google alerts for "Hope Loves Company," "ALS," and a few others. I find it really helpful to get an email each day with the top stories or articles regarding ALS - updates on studies, fundraisers, other organizations' news, etc. It could be helpful to come up with a few google alerts that you may find helpful to receive daily or weekly updates on.

(HLC): Share something that you want others to know about ALS...

(CH): Although I haven't experienced a personal loss to ALS, my boyfriend lost his dad to ALS in 2017, so I've seen some of the ways that ALS can affect a family. Through my experience at Hope Loves Company, I've learned a lot about ALS and the many ways that people may cope with a diagnosis. One thing I'd tell others is to be aware that just because your friend, child, family member, etc. may seem like they're coping okay, recognize that they could be struggling in silence. We all cope differently and it can be difficult to recognize the signs that someone may be struggling. And that applies to all aspects of life.

I'm very grateful to be a part of the HLC team, have the opportunity to meet and speak with wonderful people daily, and to be able to help make a difference in the ALS community through Hope Loves Company's programs and resources. Thank you!

Thank you Cara for participating in our ALS Awareness campaign, HLC Chats With and thank you for all that you do for Hope Loves Company!