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!

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.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

February update: snow and shirts and snow and snow

Tomorrow (February 9) is the last day to order “Be good. Be strong.” shirts!  There are orders for almost 300 shirts and 31 states are represented so while we’ve got a lot of the map covered, we are still missing some key states.  Do you live in Rhode Island?  Idaho?  How about Alaska?  Do you know someone currently in treatment for cancer?  Or a survivor?  Please consider making a purchase today.  The proceeds will be donated directly to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge this year.  And as with last year, we ask that everyone wear their shirt on Marathon Monday and send us pictures.  It's a great tribute to family and friends to see support extended across the county.  Be sure to let us know where you live so we can fill in your state!  To order, go to and don't forget that tomorrow (February 9) is the last day!!

February is the month when training really kicks into high gear.  We are just about halfway through the training season which has me running on average 30-40 miles per week with my long run at 16 miles and building.  Let me tell you, the past couple of weeks has made that tough.  We ended up getting a full season’s worth of snow in a week, a new record for the area.  And with that in mind, we are set to get another 18-24 inches of snow over the next couple of days that will settle in on top of the 45” inches that have already fallen.  With temperatures not ever really getting above freezing, the existing snow has been slow to melt.  It’s been a challenge to say the least, and I’ve logged more miles than I prefer on the treadmill, but get outside when I can.  The roads are narrow so safety is a big concern, so taking inside when necessary is the right call.  It is an exercise in training the brain if nothing else!  It'll all melt by April, right?

As we muddle through the winter, we also trudge through some difficult days and I am thankful during this time that I have the opportunity to get out and run, and to be a part of a community that understands.  During February, we mark dreadful “anniversary” days of when we lost Molly and Mary, and then in March, we also try to celebrate the birthdays of Molly and John without them here.   A lot of ups and downs, and those dreadful days don’t feel any easier. I have a couple of friends that are currently in treatment for cancer, too, so all of these people and events are motivation enough to continue on.

Your support over the years means so much to me, not just in the incredibly generous gifts to Dana-Farber but in the kindness and thoughtful outreach I have received.  That kindness buoys me to continue and I promise, we are together making a difference.  If you would like to support DFMC, please visit my online page at to make a gift.  If you would prefer, you can also send a check payable to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to my attention at 23 Glendale Rd., Marblehead, MA  01945.  We are just over halfway to my goal and I am hopeful that we’ll surpass it before Marathon Monday.  Just 10 weeks to go!  Thank you for the support!

Stay warm, and think SPRING!
With gratitude,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2015 Be good. Be strong. Shirts

 The 2015 "Be good. Be strong." shirts are here, but only until February 9!  You have to use the online shop to place your order (link below) and the shirts will be delivered to you in mid-February!  There will not be a second round this year so don't delay!!

Proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go to fund innovative cancer research in Boston.  The research that has been funded through this program is making a huge impact in the future of cancer for all types of cancer.

There are 2 options for shirts:  100% cotton and cool-dry performance material.  Both options come in youth sizes.  The cotton shirts are $20 and the technical fabric shirts are $25.

Last year, we almost filled a map of the US with people from all over the country helping to support this important cause.  Since we began last week, we've begun to fill the map again and are off to a great start....with Massachusetts and Tennessee the most represented state so far.  Please let us know where you are from so we can fill your state, too!  And feel free to share with your friends and family. 

On Marathon Monday, we ask that everyone wear their shirt and send photos.  It was so motivational to see so many people sharing the message that our family has truly come to embrace.

To order:

For more about the meaning of the shirts:

Friday, January 9, 2015

Every day, I fight

For those of you who are ESPN fans and/or many who spend any time on social media, you may be aware of the death of Stuart Scott on Sunday.  He was a long-time ESPN anchor, reporter, story teller, sports fan who also as became a role model of perseverance, strength, family, and humility throughout 7 years of dealing with cancer.
As I sat down with a cup of coffee to check out Sunday Morning on CBS and SportsCenter on ESPN, the first thing I tuned into was a tribute to Stuart Scott, knowing immediately that he had died.  The depth and nature of the disease was evident back in August when he accepted the Jimmy V award at the ESPYs.  Through the words in his speech, although not implicitly stated, it was clear that cancer was taking a big toll on his life.

My sister, Mary, had said she hated when people used the phrase "lost the fight or battle" when talking about cancer because it clearly states that there's a winner and loser, and that if ultimately cancer is the cause for loss of life, that you've been beaten.  However, Mr. Scott beautifully said in his speech something very similar:  "When you die, it does not mean you lose to cancer. You beat cancer by how you live, why you live and in the manner in which you live."  Those words exemplify the living example I've seen through my family and friends:  the fight and laughter and will and strength no matter what turns the situation may take.

It was tough to watch the tributes from his colleagues and athletes.  Emotional.  Reflective.  Honorable.   I didn’t know Stuart Scott.  Had never met him.  But seeing that hurt and hearing that sorrow they shared was tough.  It always brings my emotions straight to the surface, knowing that so many were experiencing such a difficult loss and were beginning the process of grieving their dad,  brother, son, friend, or co-worker.  Bearing witness to the disbelief that there is someone who was so special to their lives that they will never see again was heartbreaking.  As Stuart Scott was someone well known through his television job, it was certainly a more public tribute than the experience of most, but what we witnessed on the screen was people truly grieving, and seeing that very real emotion and that raw hurt can make you mourn someone you have never met.

This day and every day, about 1,500 people in our country lose their lives due to cancer.  1,500 families today are saying goodbye.  1,500 families are grieving.  1,500 groups of friends and neighbors are trying to figure out how to support their friends and manage their own sorrow.  It’s a big, big number.  

Stuart Scott wore a shirt that said: Every Day, I Fight.  Every Day.  We can’t give up.  Every day, we have to fight.  For our family and friends and for those we’ve never met because whether you know them or not, there are millions of people in the thick of it and they need to know that every day, someone is fighting.

Be good. Be strong.

Please consider helping the DFMC team fight by making a gift to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute:

Thursday, December 4, 2014

500+ Cancer Fighting Friends: DFMC 2015

In addition to just the privilege of participating with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge going into my 7th year, I have had the grand opportunity to be more involved with the team over the past 3 years as a member of the volunteer board, and for the past 2 years, serving as vice-chair.  This opportunity allows me to delve deeper into the organization and really come to know the people and the rewards the stem from this team each year.

A little bit about the team….the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team is comprised of over 500 members  from all of the United States and many foreign countries.  Our goal this year is $5.2 million, all of which benefits the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.  This will be the 26th running of the DFMC team in the Boston Marathon, and over the years the team has raised over $65 million dollars for research, which has translated into some groundbreaking discoveries.  There are a number of treatments on the market today that grew from the Barr Program research, funded by DFMC.  There is a direct connection and that is what draws me back to this team again and again.
One of the best parts of being involved with the board is having the chance to attend the First Timers meeting, which for the 2015 season was last night.  It’s an informal gathering of teammates who are joining DFMC for the first time this year, and the energy among the 75+ runners in attendance was electric.  In just brief conversations, I met a man running in honor of his wife who spent much of this year being treated at DFCI for colon cancer.  I sat next to 2 women who are themselves survivors and are running their first marathon and want to give back to an organization that saved their lives.  I spoke with a young adult who is running in honor of her best friend and college roommate who was diagnosed with leukemia and recently announced she was cancer free.  And others whose connection may not be a close but is still there.  Everyone has a connection.  Everyone is running for a personal reason.  Everyone has someone they know touched by cancer.

For me, since about 10 years ago, cancer has been entirely too close.  The web of connections is vast.  Two sisters.  One brother.  My dad.  Both grandmothers.  Three aunts.  Second cousins.  And what feels like a ridiculous amount for friends given that I am only in my early 40s.  And friends of friends.  And children of friends.  And parents of friends.  And DFMC teammates.  It just shouldn’t be the case.

So, as you know, I run.  It’s what I can do.  I’ve logged thousands of miles over the past few years, but not nearly as many miles as dollars have been contributed to help fund important cancer research.  The running is just a means to a much bigger end.  I run for Dana-Farber because everyone single cent goes directly into the laboratory and into the hands of some of the most capable and innovative researchers in this country.   So, I also ask of you to give as generously as you can knowing that there are so many other needs out there to be filled especially during this holiday time.  The dollars matter.  Every single one of them.

To make an online gift:

Be good. Be strong.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Take 7...lucky #7

 Happy almost Thanksgiving!  It’s the beginning of a hectic time of year, with winter knocking at doors across the country and snow literally knocking straight through some doors in upstate New York!  I’ll certainly be grateful we don’t have 60” of snow on the ground next week as we sit down to celebrate (knock on wood).  Before the chaos really kicks in, I’m writing to ask for your support of a cause that is incredibly important to me and to my family..

Thanksgiving is the time of year when I begin the training season for the Boston Marathon, and this year will mark my seventh year with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, and I'm more determined than ever before.   As in years past, this year has not been one without more cancer diagnoses among friends and loss of too many lives to this disease. There have been advances and new effective treatments, but the work is far from complete. I am honored to again be a member of this team, and I run alongside so many others whose lives have also been impacted by cancer.  Many of my teammates are survivors and some even current patients themselves.  Most run for family members or friends.  Others because curing cancer is their job and this is just another way to help advance the cause.  Whatever the motivation, the end goal is the same.  We run to provide incredibly gifted scientists the opportunity to make amazing advances in diverse areas of cancer research.

My primary motivation for running is my family.  I run in memory of my three siblings, Molly, Mary,  And I run for the rest of my family who have been  forever altered as a result.  Every day I miss Molly, Mary and John.  Every single day there’s a moment when I would have laughed with John about the ridiculous notion that we’d have a dog or commiserated with Molly about raising a teenager or joked with Mary about the ridiculous reality TV “personality” filling up the news.  I expected to have these moments with them: the summers at the beach, the Christmas holidays, the graduations and text messages and email jokes.  While that void cannot be filled, it is lessened by knowing that I work to change the future of cancer in their memories.
and John, who as young adults lost their lives to cancer.

The funds raised by the DFMC team support research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, one of the top cancer centers in the county.  Every cent of your gift – a full 100 percent- goes directly to funding research through the Claudia Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber, widely recognized as one of the most successful programs of its kind.  Based on a rigorous and highly selective process, the Barr Program funds the brightest scientists making basic research discoveries that are transforming cancer treatment.  This incredible work is resulting in improved survival rates and quality of life for thousands of patients everywhere, and your support will go directly to continue this mission.

My personal goal this year is $1,000 per mile of a marathon ($26,200) and I would be incredibly grateful for your support.  Making an online gift is quick, safe and easy.  You can visit my webpage at to make a contribution.  If you would prefer, you can also send a check payable to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to me at: Jennie Sheridan, 23 Glendale Rd., Marblehead, MA  01945.  In all honestly, I am able to run again for the 7th year because of the generosity of so many of you over the past years.  I not only run for Molly, Mary, and John but for all of our family and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer.  Please let me know
if there is someone for whom you would like me to run.  I wear the names of our family and friends on my shirt on the road from Hopkinton to Boston each year, and while sadly the list continues to grow, they are the wind at my back and carry me across the miles.

Each of the past six years, the backing that has been shown for my participation on the DFMC team has just remarkable, and I send my sincerest gratitude for your kindness and generosity to help me reach my goal. It’s difficult to write to you year after year, but the goal remains the same:  find a cure for cancer.  I continue to be thankful for this opportunity to be a part of this group that is leading the charge.  Your support means a great deal to our entire family. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Be good. Be strong.

With gratitude,