At the end of last year’s training season, I had the opportunity to attend a recognition event for fundraisers on the DFMC team who had raised over $13.1k during the 2016 season. There's two things I love about this event. The first is that we have the opportunity to hear from one of the Barr program investigators, who are the recipients of the funds raised. It’s an opportunity to better understand how important those dollars are to continued forward progress with cancer research (And by understand, I mean they dumb it down for the non-scientists so there are snippets that we can sort-of, kind of comprehend). To learn more about the projects that have recently been funded, you can check out the details HERE. The researchers are conducting innovative studies in all different types of cancer, which is one of the reasons I first joined this team, and their findings are translated into life-changing treatments for cancer patients everywhere. It's a one of a kind program.
The second is the opportunity to celebrate with, meet and speak with more of my DFMC teammates. The DFMC team is made up of around 500 members, brought together by the same end goal, which is to raise funds for cancer research. We are family members, physicians, friends, and survivors who share a common conviction that this program will saves lives. Over the season, I try to get to as many team events as possible, but the reception is one more chance to get to know others when we aren't gasping for air as we chug up the hills throughout training.
One of my teammates introduced herself to me and we had the chance to talk about what a difference this team has made for many of us. Last year was her first year as a runner, and she was surprised at how therapeutic it was for her not just have the chance to give back through her participation, which is healing in and of itself, but to be surrounded by a team of people who understood why she was there; to have a safe, relatable environment to talk about her family's experience, her feelings and how cancer has left an eternal mark on her life. One of the unknown benefits of this team for those of use who run is that it allows a chance to share our stories, our inspirations, our grief, our hope. It's somewhat unexpected, but what a gift that can be. While the physical act of running has been proven to be good for all of our brains, running with a team charged with a common goal is good for our souls. It provides us a community of people who are great listeners, unrealized therapists, with empathetic and understanding ears. There’s a surprising comfort in that when out logging miles throughout training. This team works hard year after year to bring change to the future of cancer, and our experiences and the relationships built through our participation, in turn changes us.
I started running the year we lost Molly, as I was searching to do something, anything to help. Over the past nine years and through even greater loss, it has also proven to be exactly what I’ve needed. It's allowed me an outlet to grieve and to honor my beautiful, kind siblings and so many (far, far too many) of our friends and family members over the 9 years; to have purpose in each miles. There’s hope in what we’ve accomplished so far, power in uniting together with a shared goal, and comfort in all of our shared experiences both good and bad.
So now we are here again, in what is always the hardest few months of the year, but yet as I train and fundraise, I am inspired and comforted by my team, my family and friends, and all of you who have show support through each gift, note, email, picture, and story shared. You’ve made every step worth it, and every mile is moves us closer.
To help reach this year's goal of $50,000, please consider a gift: