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 $50,000 to fund important basic cancer research! With your support, we have already provided over $366,000 to Dana-Farber researchers over the past 9 years. Please give as generously as your means allow!

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's coming around again

I'll be back....on the starting line of the Boston Marathon again in 2011. My spot on the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, as of this morning, is confirmed and I am all set to begin training. 5 months and 24 days from now I'll be taking the first of many, many steps along the road to Boston. It is because of the overwhelming kindness, support and generosity of so many people that I am once again able to commit to this cause and this race for the third time. I've set my goal high, and am excited about the chance to again represent Dana-Farber on the marathon course.

This year, my sister, Mary, underwent cutting edge treatment for melanoma. This treatment was developed and enriched through many, many years of research. And this treatment is working for her. Once just an idea, funding for basic cancer research helped make this idea a reality, and as a result, there are many patients reaping the benefits. There are more ideas out there that need to become reality. There is now a vaccine in development for glioblastomas (the type of brain tumor that my siblings, Molly and John, had) that is working. There are genetic tests that keep people from unnecessary treatments that are working. There are many people living longer. The research is working. But it isn't even close to finished. And that is why the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is in existence.

Last year, the DFMC team raised over $4.5 million dollars. Every single penny of that money goes directly to fund research at Dana-Farber. Every single penny. It doesn't go to pay overhead. It doesn't pay for parties. It doesn't pay for construction. This money pays for research. Innovative, basic cancer research at one of the top institutes in the country. And that is how ideas become reality. And how we get closer to a cure.

I am thankful beyond words for the research that has given Mary the opportunity to live with hope. I am so thankful for the opportunity to again be a member of this team. I am thankful for every donation, every kind word, every running partner that shares some miles with me, every hug, every smiling face out on the course, every member of "Team Jennie" over the past two years, and every effort to make these experiences so successful and meaningful. Without all of this kindness shown by our friends and family, this opportunity would not exist. It allows all of us to live with hope.

Be good. Be strong.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Running for fun

People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing. ~Dale Carnegie

Yesterday I ran my first official "race" since the marathon. It's was a race in that I was given a number and timing chip, and I started running with 4,500 other runners at the same time aiming to cross the same finish line. But I've come to prefer calling most of these events "runs" in place of "races" because usually my motivation for completing them really is not to win or even to place well against the field. It's to just get out there and run. If I am racing, it is usually only against myself. But when I am out there running just to run, I think I enjoy the events much more. The stress is less. The anxiety is less. And the fun factor and happiness guessed it. Much higher. I still like a little competition here and there, a test of fitness or a truly hard effort that you aren't likely get from running on your own. A race. But I also like standing at the start line just happy to be out for a run with a bunch of people who feel the same way. Running for fun.

For kids, running events are always called "Fun Runs." It's the grown-up versions that are usually called races. Maybe more people would participate if the purpose of some of these events was running for fun, where you win just for participating and your finishing time doesn't matter. In fact, it wouldn't even be measured. In a time when there is such a push for people to get healthy, and I think setting a goal of participating in a fitness event is a method that works. I know that it works for me. I am a much more consistent runner if I have something marked on the calendar, a goal. I think the competition aspect of "racing" is daunting to many people, especially new runners or walkers, and maybe, just maybe, the fun factor might be a big draw to get people moving and aiming to reach a goal.

Participating in these events, even coming out and watching the runners go by, helps you to see what an inclusive sport running can be. What so many people notice when watching a race, especially one with a crowded field, is the many, many different types of people who are running. Different strides, different body shapes, different genders and ages, different abilities, different paces, and different goals. The course yesterday had a turnaround spot so there was the opportunity to see the entire field about a third of the way through the race. We could see everyone ahead of us and everyone behind us as we ran. I loved watching the thousands of people pass by. Everyone has a story. Everyone is out there for a different reason. To finish, to reach a personal goal, to help someone else reach a goal, to improve, to beat the odds, to just know that they can. It's humbling and empowering. It's exciting and exhausting. It can be exhilarating and defeating all at the same time. It's something I love to do. I guess because I think it is fun.

Somewhere along the line, this turned into a bit of pep rally for running. While it wasn't my intention when I sat down tonight, I can't say it isn't how I feel. It's good for your body. It's good for your mind. Please make sure you are in okay shape to start out if you haven't run in a while. Or in forever. And you don't even have to run. Take a walk or ride a bike. Go for a swim. Just get out there and do it. It might take some time to get there, but if you give it a try, you might just find you are having fun. Success!

Be good. Be strong.