Karee Jo, 15, of Watford City was diagnosed with pluropulmonary blastoma in January of 2013 at only eight-years-old. She endured 14 months of chemotherapy at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital. Treatment was successful and Karee Jo was considered in remission, but after nine-months of being cancer-free, she relapsed in December 2014 and had an additional 11 months of very intense chemotherapy and radiation. Her mom, Darlene, said it was devastation once again learning of the cancer diagnosis, but said “we’ve done this once, we’ve been there, done that, and we will do it again.”
Right before her last chemo treatment, Karee Jo expressed interest in auditioning for her chance to go to Florida to act in front of directors, agents, and producers. Acting seemed like second nature, she had a passion for it and was very good at it. She began working with acting coaches via Skype, and to live out her dream, she and Darlene relocated to Los Angeles in December of 2016. She has accomplished big things at her young age.
Karee has been in a few films, of which her most rewarding undertaking is being in a Disney/Pixar documentary “In the Driver’s Seat” on YouTube, which was an inspirational and empowerment promotional for the film Cars 3. She takes great pride in this because it’s about her battle with cancer and her love for racing. After spending a year and a half in Hollywood acting, they returned home because they missed North Dakota and it’s the place they call home.
Karee started racecar driving when she was eight and says her dad taught her everything she knows about racing. She drives her own 1/2 scale Jr Dragster and has won the track championship two years in a row and qualified for Worlds in October 2019 and raced in Memphis. Because of car problems she didn’t do as well as she would have liked, but she was honored and excited to be there. Karee Jo plans to continue racing and be the best race car driver she can be.
Her biggest accomplishment, however, is beating cancer. Karee Jo is happy to say she has been cancer free for four and a half years. Her dad says that Karee is very seldomly down and she always gives 100%. Her parents say that Karee Jo has taught them to never give up, to live life to the fullest, don’t sweat the small stuff, and to just go for what you want.
Karee Jo’s vision is to inspire and be a good role model to other kids battling cancer. Her message is to never give up and she believes that anything is possible. This survivor is in the driver’s seat and is busy living life to the fullest.