Thank you for the generous support you continue to show toward my 2013 Marathon Challenge. I am more than 80% toward my fundraising goal of $10,000. To make a donation, please go to my personal fundraising page www.rundfmc.org/2013/erick. Let’s get to $9,000 before Red Sox Opening Day, April 8!
For more years than I have been part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, pediatric patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic have been paired with runners who, along with their personal goals of training and fundraising, go the extra mile to be a supporter, advocate, and friend for kids and their families. Today, many of these kids are doing well and thriving well past their diagnosis. Sadly, though, families and runners have also lost their sons, daughters, inspirations, to the reality that this disease is still something so terrible. Each year I have seen new kids and new hope—as well as returning faces and renewed strength. Training for a marathon is not easy. And battling cancer is not easy. That is where the runner and the patient truly rely on each other. I realized this last year with my sister and I am reminded again this year.
There are countless stories over the last six years that serve as my inspiration to be part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge each year. My family has lived some of these stories. My friends have been as much a part, too. With Marathon Monday now less than 10 days away, I am taking myself out of the normal routine of just going day-by-day, and I want to think about all that is coming down the road. But, to look ahead, I want to think about where it all started. The dollars raised from the Marathon Challenge during my six years on the team, and through the 24 years of the team’s existence, continue to fund the most innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber. The “living proof” of this work is with the kids, of course, but also with the 30 or so runners on the team who are cancer survivors.
One of the “living proof” runners on the team, as well as a close friend, recently shared her story in a Dana-Farber publication. The story of Hilary Hall’s treatment, bone marrow transplant, growing up in Buffalo, survival, marathon training, and advice for new patients has made the natural transition from blog to now widely shared on Facebook. I know that link on Facebook helped Hilary bring in more donations to her personal fundraising page. The link of course had many “Likes” and comments; however, one comment stood out from all the posts on Facebook yesterday. Sure enough, as bold and confident as I’m sure she always is, Hilary’s patient partner, Nicole, wrote: “So cool!!! Someday I’ll be running right along with you!”
And then it hits. It has hit hard countless times just like this. When I realize how much hope these kids have and how important it is to make the future available for Nicole, and the next wave of patient partners who, when beating cancer is not enough, want to run for Dana-Farber.
The training ended. The taper is winding down. The mission, undoubtedly, will go on after crossing the finish line. Hilary, I, and 550 runners of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team are going to raise more than $4.6 million for cancer research in 2013. Then there will be 2014. And 2015 will follow as well for me. There are many motivating factors for wanting to continue with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. Right at the top of this list, is the $61,150 that friends and family have helped me raise since I began this journey in memory of my dad. I truly believe that one of those dollars will provide the funding a researcher needed to discover our next miracle drug. That dollar may target a gene that is causing pancreatic cancer. That dollar may help create a vaccine for leukemia. That dollar will help all the people who, one day, will be diagnosed with cancer.
The 10-day forecast on weather.com looks promising. But, from last year, I learned that weather is completely out of our control. The future for all the kids in the patient partner program, however, looks great to me. And that is something we should make sure happens. Thanks again.