Heather's 2001 marathon letter

Dear friends,

Normally you would have heard from me about a month ago, but I decided to delay this year’s fund raising letter so I could “test drive” the knee. As some of you may have heard or seen, I finally had knee surgery last June to repair the damage from a childhood skiing accident. I’m happy to report that exactly eight months later, I ran the Hyannis half-marathon – in spite of rain, sleet, snow and slush! And now it’s only five weeks until April 16th, my fourth Boston Marathon for cancer research!

I continue to run in memory of my friend, Brittany Lambert, who died in October, 1998 from myelodsyplasia, a rare blood disease that leads to cancer. At last year’s marathon, I knew early in the race that knee surgery would be inevitable. I could barely withstand the pain by the time I reached mile 25 where Brittany’s sister, Brianne, met me to finish the last 1.2 miles together. But Brianne took my hand and pulled me down the bridge into Kenmore Square and through the streets of Boston. She told me stories of the runners she had seen throughout the day to keep my mind off the pain, and when I faltered, she pushed me on by reminding me, “you’re doing this for Brittany.” As we came down the final stretch, she looked at my watch, informed me that I had little time to beat my goal of five hours and pulled me forward. We crossed the finish line together at 4:59:56 – rest assured, I made sure a volunteer gave Brianne a finisher’s medal of her own! And I promised her that we would run the last mile together for Brittany in 2001.

Later this summer when the leg brace came off and the crutches were relegated to the corner, I received stunning news. One of my best friends, Cindy, called me one evening, and after some arm twisting and tears, told me that she had found a lump in her breast. She was 25, and her mother had beaten breast cancer just ten years earlier. All the questions… Did she drive down from New Hampshire to see her mother’s doctors in Boston? Did she request a second opinion? Aspiration or removal of the lump? And how do I look her in the eye and reassure her that everything will be all right, when we both know that it’s not always “all right”?

Well, Cindy was lucky. She saw wonderful doctors at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in New Hampshire and had the lump removed. I can’t tell you the relief I felt when her mother called to tell me that everything was indeed “all right.” In October, their entire family gathered in Boston for a walk for breast cancer. I will never forget the sight of Cindy, her two sisters and their mother crossing the finish line, holding hands and crying.

Over the past three years you have helped me to raise over $20,000 for cancer research at Dana-Farber, and I want to thank you for your support, both financial and emotional. This year I would like to add $5,000 to that total in memory of Brittany and in support of those who are not as lucky as Cindy. I hope that you will consider contributing. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds Barr Program researchers at Dana Farber, ensuring novel approaches in basic cancer research. While a cure was not found in time for Brittany, I know that the researchers that we are supporting today will eventually find one. In the meanwhile, I’ll continue to run.

Thank you for your support and encouragement!


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Last updated on March 29, 2008 .
Any problems, contact Heather.