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.