Dear Family and Friends,
April 18, 2011 has a “to do” entry on my calendar. At 10:30 a.m., I will be starting the 2011 Boston Marathon as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge for the 3rd year. I will be again raising money for the Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and I would be so grateful for your support.
I was actually kind of looking forward to writing this letter this year. I was anxious to share with you all that my sister, Mary, had undergone innovative treatment this summer, and that it was working. I wanted you to know that she spent almost 4 weeks in the hospital, one in ICU, enduring grueling treatment, and she was doing well. At one month out of treatment, one tumor was shrinking. At two months, that first tumor was almost invisible on scans and a second was also shrinking. Mary started planning in increments beyond the following week, and we all were living with a little bit less stress every day. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, that excitement came to an end when Mary went in for her 3-month follow-up. The positive results, the shrinking tumors, were gone. The “invisible “ tumor was back and it had brought some friends with it. Happy Thanksgiving, right?
So, now I am writing this letter in a little bit different state of mind. This year, I am angry and I am even more motivated to continuing raising funds for cancer research. I will be running with renewed purpose and a greater sense of urgency that this disease needs to be stopped. I am not going to be reluctant to ask for funds. I am not going to be hindered by shyness about sharing our family’s story and talking about the effects of this disease in our lives. I lost my older sister, Molly, at the age of 36 to this disease. I lost my younger brother, John, at the age of 32 to this disease. And I have to sit and watch my sister, Mary, who just celebrated her 35th birthday struggle every single day against this disease. This is personal and it is important, and I need your help.
So, please join me, my family, and the DFMC team in taking a stand against cancer. If your means allow, please consider a donation to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. These funds enable researchers to continue their quest to find a cure, and to improve the lives of cancer patients around the world. For those of you who have contributed in the past, you know that 100% of your donation directly funds innovative, basic cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Every single cent. So, every single donation makes a difference: $5, $25, $100. Those dollars matter and are vital. If you are interested, you can make a gift directly online by visiting www.runDFMC.org/2011/jennies or
You can send a check made out to Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge to my home. Please leave me a message if you need the address.
Please know that there are ways to contribute to the lives of those with cancer beyond making a financial donation. You can volunteer your time to a cancer organization in your city. Run or walk in a race where the proceeds benefit a cancer organization. If you are in the greater Boston area, you can commit some time to volunteer for the DFMC team either during weekend runs or during marathon weekend. Send someone who has been affected by this disease a card or a note to let him or her know you are thinking about them. Plan a visit. Go out to lunch. Please share this message with others and invite them to either contribute to this important cause, or to a cause that is meaningful to them. Raise awareness and spread the word. Take a stand. Just don’t be still.
I am again blogging about my experiences (www.begoodbestrong.blogspot.com) and plan to include information about the research the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is currently funding so you can see first hand how you contributions are helping in this fight against cancer. I also hope to continue share with you how this disease has affected our lives and the lives of our family and friends. Unfortunately too many of us have stories to share and understand how deeply the ramifications of such a horrible disease can cut.
During this time of Thanksgiving, please remember to express your appreciation to those you love and who love you. Find gratitude, although it isn’t always as simple as you’d like it to be. I am again so thankful for the opportunity to run for this organization that I truly believe to be important and valuable. I am thankful for the overwhelming and generous support that has been shown the past two years, and for all of you who share kindness, generosity, and support. I have hope that my participation on this team will help further the efforts to find a cure for cancer.
Be good. Be strong.
Believe in hope.