There is a deeply meaningful marathon story I was hoping to share. A dream-fulfilling, first-hand account of a weekend that, by the time I crossed the finish line, left me out of breath, but also completely exhilarated. The type of story where, even if there were no astrological significance, I would still tell you that the moon and stars aligned in mid-April. If anxiety was going to keep me up the night before the marathon, then the post-race euphoria—that runner’s high you have been wondering about—would leave me an insomniac well into May. This, however, will not be that story.
Skin-tight spandex. Shiny mylar capes. Shades of neon seen as far as the eye can see. Those are the looks of superheroes that, along with other immense powers, have the strength to move the earth under their feet. On April 15, 2013, thousands of these superheroes were to descend on Boylston Street in Boston’s Back Bay and, as they have for all previous years, follow a procession to receive an elite symbol of strength. As the tragic events unfolded on Monday afternoon, Boston’s heroes were not just marathon runners, they were doctors, police officers, firefighters, volunteers, emergency medical teams, first responders, and many others who, in all honesty, spend the other 364 days of the year as a hero for us. No one told them, and it certainly was not otherwise an option that, on their one “day off” they would have to save lives.
I will, and I kindly ask that you, too, think of these heroes. The inspiring bravery of countless people, in the moments after the explosions, is something I will certainly think about. I also can’t forget the tragedy, which will forever be part of the Boston Marathon. Even on the days when the world does not come to run in Boston, as we have already seen, there will be memorials along the Marathon route, stadiums will play Dirty Water when the home team wins, and restaurants will be bustling on Boylston Street. Even on those tougher days, I will think about Colbert’s intro on April 16, the home crowd returning to the TD Garden, and courageous images of Celeste and Sydney Corcoran. As you can tell, I have a lot to think about. Today, tomorrow, and the next time I go for a long run, I have a lot to think about.
Even before I was running with, or running by and high fiving good friends, something profound and memorable stuck with me that I knew was worth sharing. A Marathon Challenge teammate, as well as a doctor at Dana-Farber, David Weinstock shared this with runners and many of our friends, family members, and patient partners.
“I believe that we spend most of our lives feeling alone in the universe. In fact, the great irony of human existence is that every one of us, every one, ultimately thinks that we’re the only one who feels that way. The feeling of being uniquely alone is the great valiant bond between us—it’s what brings us together.”
These poignant words would carry even more meaning two weeks ago from today. At 2:50pm, the 27,000 runners, 500,000 spectators, and thousands more actually working that day, refreshing the BAA.org athlete tracking website, were steps, miles, office buildings, and continents apart; however no one was alone. That day brought us together. That day made us Boston Strong.
Martin Richard’s little league teammates will not be alone. Krystle Campbell’s co-workers will not be alone. Lu Lingzi’s classmates will not be alone. Sean Collier’s fellow officers at MIT will not be alone. Each of their family members, for as long as I know, will not be alone.
For all those reasons, and many more, I know that the next time the world comes back to run Boston, 356 days from now, I will absolutely be there as well. I already can’t wait to get back to long runs, on bitter cold mornings, and write to you again about the 2014 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. I hope that all of the superheroes who inspired and motivated me, through generous support and incredible words of encouragement, will also be there on April 21, 2014, for the celebration on Boylston Street. You will not want to miss it.
Family, friends, and teammates THANK YOU so much for helping me raise$13,775.20 for the 2013 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.
The 2013 Boston Marathon is almost here. And it’s Friday. It’s 12:30 pm. It’s time to wrap up what the Marathon Challenge experience is all about. I leave it to my sister, Blair, to share her story. Thank you for being an inspiration to so many people and helping me raise more than $10,000 this year!!
My brother asked me to explain what the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge means to me, so here goes….
This isn’t easy for me to talk about. I always try to be the rock and stay positive for everyone, but when it comes down to it, I have to admit that I blocked out a lot of the two cancer experiences in my life.
If Eric would have asked me this two years ago my answers would be very different than today. Eric and I lost our father from cancer when we were far too young; so was our dad. It was at that point when we realized the importance of giving back and donating to cancer research. As a family, over the past 13 years we have raised countless amounts of money for the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber, and in the past 6 years Eric has taken that fundraising to new heights.
What DFMC means to me….
First and foremost it means hope; hope that one day there will be a cure for cancer so we never have to lose a person to cancer ever again.
Our world was turned around when we lost our father to cancer in October of 1999. November 9th 2011 our lives were forever changed again when I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Prior to that, Eric had been running in memory of our father and that meant so much to me. Never did I think he would ever have to run in my honor as well.
The first day I started chemo, Eric presented me with a banner signed by many of his DFMC teammates wishing me luck. That banner meant so much to me. Each one of those runners train so hard and work so hard on raising money, and I was starting my intense course of treatment knowing that they were there with me. That banner showed me lots of love and support that helped me through my treatment.
DFMC means I don’t have to be so nervous every time I go for a cancer check up because I know all the money the DFMC team raises goes directly towards cancer research. The research part is so important to me for two reasons. One being, both our father and his mother died from lung cancer. If there is a genetic link, I hope that the research will help to identify and create targeted treatments so that no other family will have to lose a family member to that same form of lung cancer ever again. And secondly, the type of ovarian cancer I had was very rare. In my case I was incredibly lucky that it was caught early; others aren’t so lucky. Thanks to research, they have been able to determine the best course of treatment to wipe out my type of cancer and prevent it from coming back.
At our first pasta party two years ago, the highlight of our night was Eric & Lindsey’s video surprise of their top 10 reasons why they run for Dana-Farber. After that I thought that no pasta party could top that one. Little did I know that the following year I would be a cancer patient. But last year, sitting there totally bald, one-month post chemo, I had an overwhelming feeling of understanding what all the other patients were going through. I was one of them.
One of the most touching parts of the pasta party is when the patients are recognized with their partners. I always knew that Eric would be a great patient partner because he was there for me through everything. Some people may say that he’s family and he’s supposed to, but he went above and beyond and the money he raised last year was astonishing. On Sunday night I’m looking forward to seeing Eric on stage with Alex, his patient partner, so they can get the recognition they both deserve.
Last year’s Marathon Monday was a very powerful one. Never have I cheered more loudly for the DFMC runners. I got a lot of waves and high fives but one man really touched my heart. He ran over to me and said, “we run for you!” I never could have imagined someone saying that to me. At that moment I realized more so than ever that it is not just about the money these runners raised, but it is amazing to see how extraordinary all these runners are on the inside. I look at them as my inspiration and they looked at me as theirs.
Marathon Monday 2012 was a brutally hot day. Eric struggled, but he never gave up as much as I’m sure that he may have wanted to. I know in his mind he was as determined to cross that finish line with my name on his singlet, as I was just as determined to fight my cancer and cross my own finish line of completing treatment and being cancer free.
I am so incredibly proud of my brother. I looked at him for inspiration with how hard he trained for the Marathon and I know that he looked to me with amazement at the way I handled my cancer diagnosis and fight. He was there every day that I had treatment. He would even come in when I would be there on the weekends. He has not missed a doctor’s appointment or a check up. He is the most unbelievable person I know!
Every time Eric has run with our father’s name on his back it has felt amazing. And now with my name also there, I know this year will be no different. I am so thankful for the love and support of all of our family and friends during my difficult time and with Eric’s fundraising. Unfortunately, I now can relate to every cancer patient out there and we are all heroes in our own way, just as each runner is a hero to each of us and each person who donates is truly an angel.
For all the DFMC runners, good luck, run hard, keep up the great work and may the wind be at your back on Monday, especially Eric, my hero!
Thank you all for everything you do for us and continue to do. And thank you Eric for being the most wonderful brother any sister could have!