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!