By Jeff Todd

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4)– Karissa Rund says she learned early on, she could feel sorry for herself, or she could keep a positive attitude and tackle any issues in front of her. For the past 20 years, she hasn’t stopped tackling.

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“If you were looking at me and not knowing who I am as a person you would probably think it was really sad and really tragic. I try and live my life in a way that is redemptive of those things,” Rund says.

Karissa Rund (credit: CBS)

At age 11, she lost her mother to breast cancer. Three years later, she was a freshman at Columbine High School when the gunmen entered the school.

(credit: Karissa Rund)

She married her high school sweetheart before he started serving multiple tours in Iraq as a Marine. He was killed in action in Fallujah. And for the past two years Rund has been battling Stage IV cancer.

(credit: Karissa Rund)

She says her faith and a positive attitude have guided her through everything.

“You can choose gratitude in wherever you find it in between the horrible things. My attitude is something I’ve worked really hard for,” she said.

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(credit: Karissa Rund)

And it’s something she’s continued to work at. Doctors have told her they’re out of treatment options, but she isn’t giving up. She’s going to take part in a clinical trial in Philadelphia next year.

“This trial has the potential to cure me and keep me alive, and that’s huge and I can’t negate that,” she said. “There’s some kind of contraption, they give you five shots at once with vaccine which is supposed to mutate your genes and encourage them to fight the cancer in your body. It’s only phase one which means it’s never been tested on humans before.”

(credit: Karissa Rund)

On Tuesday, Karissa did something she’s not used to doing. She reached out to friends, family and strangers to help fund the 15 trips she’ll need to take back east for treatment. She estimated it would cost $12,000 and set up an online fundraising campaign.

In just two days she’s far exceeded her goal.

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews Karissa Rund (credit: CBS)

“I feel humbled but grateful and I think anyone in this position would just feel overwhelmed in the best way. We all have a choice and I want to go forward. I want to use my life in a positive way. It hasn’t always been easy,” Rund said.

LINK: Karissa’s GoFundMe Page

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Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.