To Make a Donation to the 2016 team

Please visit my fundraising page to make a donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ( Please help me reach my goal of $42,000 to fund important basic cancer research! With your support, we have already provided over $250,000 to Dana-Farber researchers over the past 7 years. Can we make it to $300,000? Please give as generously as your means allow!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Live Your Dash in Honor of Andrea Carey

Andrea and her friend, Annie, cheering us on!
Some of you  may have seen this already, but I wanted to extend an invitation to you all to the Andrea Carey Memorial 5k and 1 mile walk that is being held on Sunday, April 3 at 10am.

​I had the honor of working with Andrea at Greater Boston Running Co.  She came to the store after retiring from the USPS.  She was not one to sit around in retirement!  She was born and raised in Lynn, and lived her entire life on the north shore.  Andrea was a very accomplished runner having completed multiple marathons around the world, and was a Boston Marathon qualifier.    She was a gifted and entertaining story teller...and boy did she had some doozies to share!  Andrea was incredibly supportive of me and another co-worker last year as we trained for the Boston marathon, offering time, advice and general support!  Last May, Andrea was beginning her training for the Bay State Marathon in October when she started having some pain in her abdomen.  She was quickly diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, with few treatment options.  Just 7 weeks later, Andrea passed away...on her own terms.  She is very much missed by all who had the opportunity to know her.  In her memory, we have helped to organize a road race in her honor as she was an active member of the local running community.  Proceeds will go to Dana-Farber in Andrea's memory to support clinical research.

The event will take place in Peabody. where Andrea had most recently made her home.  There is a 5k and also a 1-mile walk, along with raffles and post-race celebration at Champions restaurant.  Please consider attending with your family if you have the time on Sunday.  For more information and registration,

The race is also called "Live Your Dash" in honor of her favorite poem:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Carry on

You all are a heck of a team!  Thank you so very much for the hundreds of people that supported the "be good. be strong" shirt sale this year.  I'm so proud to be able to carry on the message that Molly, Mary and John shared as they went through their treatment with cancer, and it's such an honor, a humbling one at that, to know their words will be shared from coast to coast through the sale of these shirts.  I also know that the proceeds will be utilized in the best way possible at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is what got this started in the first place.

Thank you for helping to make this our most successful campaign to date:

476 shirts sold
$11,370 raised for cancer research
37 states represented (and Japan and the USVI)

Simply awesome.  Grateful.  Inspired.

Be good. Be strong.

Monday, March 7, 2016


Today is the last day to order shirts!  We're getting close to filling in the country!  Be sure to let us know which state you represent so we can color your state GREEN!

Thank you for the unparalleled support of our efforts again this year!  It's a mighty team of friends and family coming together to change the future of cancer!

If you haven't ordered yet, please go to

Sunday, February 28, 2016

It's T-Shirt Time

It's t-shirt time again, friends!  We are again selling shirts (cotton and performance fabric) and new this year are hoodies!  There is a wide ranges of sizes and styles so there's something for everyone!  We wear these shirts in honor of our friends and family members who have faced a cancer diagnosis.  This year we chose to incorporate a tree which is often thought to be a symbol of strength (trunk), healing (leaves), and sustenance and livelihood (branches).

Check out the options at:

The funds raised from the proceeds of the shirts and any additional gifts will go directly to fund basic cancer research, and as noted by one of the scientists (who is also a runner on the team), "we've learned more about cancer in the last decade than we have in the last century" and our support of this program has been instrumental to that process.  Based on a rigorous and highly selective process, the brightest, most creative scientists are making basic research discoveries that are transforming cancer treatment. These numerous breakthroughs have resulted in improved survival rates and quality of life for thousands of patients everywhere Our support makes a direct difference in these labs! For eight years, I've helped to individually raise over $250,000 so I KNOW our gifts have made an impact.  Thank you for year after year giving as generously as you have. 

As in past year, don't forget to wear your shirt on Marathon Monday (April 18) and post t Facebook or email.  As I wait to start the marathon each year, I have been overwhelmed with emotion at the pictures and messages you all have shared.  It carries me from start to finish, and I am humbled each and every year by such kindness.

With tremendous gratitude and thanks,

Monday, November 30, 2015

Give a Little Bit

Tomorrow is “Giving Tuesday,” a challenge in response to Black Friday and Cyber Monday to help redirect holiday spending towards charitable organizations during this season of giving.  There’s a good chance you’ve already been inundated with many worthy requests, yet I humbly ask for you to consider the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.  This very simple concept for us all to support organizations during the holidays can make a long-lasting impact, and I’d be very grateful for your gift to the DFMC and here’s why:

At our wedding 18 years ago, I overheard someone say, “This family is advertisement for having a big family” while watching my siblings and I dancing and goofing off.  Having 5 kids was not all that common and I vividly remember people asking my parents “Are they all yours?” quite frequently when we were out and about.  A large family didn’t come without plenty of challenges, but the majority of the time, there was companionship and laughter and fun.  That carried on through young adulthood during fun times like new weddings and babies and summer vacations and especially in the more difficult time when Molly and Mary and John were sick, through treatments and surgeries and recovery.  It’s something I think about and miss every day.  The big, chaotic holidays or beach vacations.  The 27 daily phone calls back and forth to share silly information.  Kicking the soccer ball and giving advice.  Even the arguing and disagreements which comes with a big, close, open family, but forgiveness and laughter was always quick to follow.

I was inspired eight years ago by Molly, Mary and John to begin running to raise funds for innovative cancer research at Dana-Farber.  It’s continued to be my way to be with them and to honor the incredible strength and determination they each showed throughout treatment.  Additionally over the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege to come to know and learn about so many other friends and family members who have also been on the receiving end of a cancer diagnosis, and all of these many, many people give deep meaning to every mile I run through training and during the marathon.  Last year and again this year, I will again run for my In-Memory patient, Jesse.  I wear their names on my back and am carried by their stories.  This team is a group of people filled with resilience:  the runners, families, volunteers, friends.  We come together each year with one goal in mind:  to fund research to find a cure.

I’ve had the opportunity to see firsthand how your donations are making a difference in the future of cancer through the research being conducted by the Claudia Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research.   The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is a world leader in cancer research, and the Barr Program funds the brightest, most creative scientists making basic research discoveries that are transforming cancer treatment. Barr Investigators have made numerous major breakthroughs resulting in improved survival rates and quality of life for thousands of patients everywhere.  100% of every dollar raised through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge goes directly to research.  One hundred percent. 

There are 42,000 meters in a marathon, and so I’ve set my initial goal this year higher than it’s ever been:  $42,000.  I humbly ask for your support of this program so we can continue to move closer to a world without cancer.  It’s ambitious, but each week, I hear of someone else faced with a new diagnosis and know that a family is facing an uncertain future.  There are advances being made every single day and our support through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is fueling much of the life-changing research.

To make an online gift, please go to: or if you would prefer, you may send a check payable to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to me at home:  23 Glendale Rd., Marblehead, MA  01945. 

Should it be that the efforts of this team have provided you a little bit of inspiration, I hope it is to help you see that we all have the opportunity to find purpose beyond ourselves.  That you have the ability to make changes and affect the future.  There is great hope that comes from uniting to accomplish a goal as big as this, and it takes many, many people to get there.  I believe in this cause, and I’m certainly better because of this team and those who I have met as a result…teammates, supporters, patient partners and families, and volunteers.   Thank you for your support.  Thank you for sharing your personal stories and providing inspiration and strength over the miles.  Thank you for believing that we are making a difference.
With gratitude,

PS….There will be new “Be good. Be strong.” shirts coming soon!  Watch your email and Facebook!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

T-shirt sale is re-open!

There were some people who missed out on the t-shirts this year, and I was able to get Booster to re-open the sale for a short time.  If you'd like a shirt, you need to order by June 20.  Proceeds will continue to go to fund cancer research at Dana-Farber.

The site to order is:

Friday, February 27, 2015


This year, I will be running for the first time for an In-Memory Family with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.  Many of my DFMC teammates come to the team with their own special connection to cancer and their very personal reason to want to support Innovative Cancer Research.   Additionally, each year runners can apply to be matched with a Patient Partner (current or former Dana-Farber pediatric patient) or an In-Memory Family (family of a pediatric patient who passed away as a result of this terrible disease).  After speaking with the program coordinator this year, I decided to apply for the In-Memory program and have been matched with the family of Jesse, a young boy who passed away just over a year ago from neuroblastoma.

Our family had the opportunity to meet Jesse's family a couple of weeks ago at the DFMC In-Memory Dinner.  We met his mom, dad and brother:  Suzy, Jeff and Colton, who were so kind and easy to talk with and get to know.   It was an informal way to get to know each other a little bit, and for me to learn a little bit more about this brave boy for whom I am incredibly humbled to have been matched. Jesse was diagnosed at age 3 and passed away at age 7.  All of those years, he never stopped treatment and was never in remission.  For four years, he endured chemo and doctor's appointments and hospital stays and all of the side effects, in between enjoying all the things that 4 and 5 and 6 year old boys love like Legos and playing outside.  And superheroes, most of all Batman.  He dreamed of becoming a police officer and was made an honorary officer by a local town.  The love he inspired was of heroic proportions in his community as told by the local newspaper article in the Middlebourough Enterprise.  While I mostly wish that there didn't have to be an In-Memory program and families who have experienced the loss of a young child, what an honor it is for me to run this year for Jesse and to share the DFMC team with his family this year in our joint mission to find treatments and cures for all types of cancer.

The In-Memory dinner was such a moving evening shared with other families and runners, and for us, the first time to hear more about the In-Memory program from people who have been involved for a long time.  There were families who have been a part of the program for many years, and others, like us, who were there for the first time.  In fact, the speaker is a young woman whose family began their affiliation with the program many years prior as an In-Memory family.  She lost her brother to cancer when she was much younger, but now as a young adult is a DFMC runner and teammate.  She requested to be matched with an In-Memory family because the program was so meaningful to her family over the years and in addition to joining the team as a runner, she wanted to also participate on the other side.  I tell you, this is a team that continues to draw you back in many different ways, whether it be as a runner or volunteer or fan.  We draw strength from each other to achieve our goals.

One of the most special parts of running for DFMC is that we get to meet people and spend time with others who have felt or are feeling similarly, who have shared experiences.  While it may seem sad, I feel it is the opposite.  It’s so healing and therapeutic to know that we are all purposed to achieve the same goal in honor of those we love.  As Suzy and I talked about, it's a safe, comfortable place to talk openly and freely about loved ones and about cancer without worry.  I hope that by becoming involved with DFMC that Jesse’s family can feel some of the same inspiration and support that I have felt through my years being involved.  I look forward to sharing more about Jesse throughout the rest of the season, and know that his bravery and strength will inspire me throughout this training season and beyond.  In the meantime, you can learn more about Jesse and his family by visiting their foundation's webpage: or their Facebook page: Jesse Heikkila Foundation

As I head out to our group run on another sub-zero morning, it is these all of these children in the In-Memory and Patient Partner programs that make this run worthwhile. In the big picture, these cold mornings and long runs are nothing.  What truly is something is kids like Jesse.  The theme for today's group run is Superheroes in honor of all of those for whom we run.  They are Superheroes to us.  My run today is for Jesse and his family.  It's nothing short of a privilege to be his representative on this team.

Be good. Be strong.