Heather's 2003 marathon letter

Dear family and friends,

2002 will probably go down as the “year of change” in my book. I went back to school part-time for my MBA in January, then got engaged in February. Tom and I moved to an apartment in Somerville upstairs from one of his best friends in July, who quickly adopted my beloved cat, Skye, in deference to Tom’s allergies. We then capped off the year by adopting an adorable, but rambunctious puppy, now named Maddie, from the Boston City Shelter just after Christmas. Skye, who was allowed to visit us upstairs for a few minutes every now and then, is not entirely pleased with the turn of events—surprisingly, she tolerates our landlord’s huge German Shepard far more than the puppy!

A few things remained consistent. In April, I ran the 106th Boston Marathon for the fifth time, a major milestone among runners for Dana-Farber, particularly to those of us who were never “runners” per se growing up, but simply stubborn enough to not know when to stop (until 26.2 miles later). Tom met me once again at Heartbreak Hill and relished his role as the eight-mile taskmaster. There’s nothing worse than running with a guy who takes such glee in passerbyers telling him “good job” and “keep it up” as he jogs backwards, fresh as a daisy after just two or three miles, all while encouraging me to reach mile 21, 22, 23… Needless to say, when I returned for the Jimmy Fund Walk in September to walk the entire marathon course for the fourth year with Brittany’s family, I made sure that Tom’s role was limited to working a water stop at mile one! We called it even in October at the fourth annual Black Cat Classic 5K in memory of Brittany, when the race resulted in record participants, record fundraising and record fun.

At one point, given all the change, I had been considering taking the year off from the Boston Marathon. After all, between working a full-time job, occasionally a second job on Saturdays, going to school part-time, planning a wedding and accustoming myself to actually having to do laundry once a week (rather than when it occurred to me), maybe this was the year to take a break.

Unfortunately, overcoming and defeating cancer has not yet changed for good. At the beginning of the summer, the mother of one of my best friends suffered a relapse of her breast cancer. A month later, a good friend, Rob, with whom I used to work, succumbed to a three-year battle with Ewings Sarcoma, just days before his 31st birthday. Finally, just before Labor Day, Amber, the daughter of one of Tom’s best friends, was diagnosed with leukemia just a few weeks before her fourth birthday. I quickly changed my mind.

Over the past five years, you have helped me to raise more than $31,000 for cancer research at Dana-Farber, and I want to thank you for your never-ending support, whether financial or emotional. I hope that you will consider contributing this year. 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 or Rob, I know that the researchers that we are supporting today will eventually find one for Amber and my friend’s mother. Thank you for your support and encouragement!


Read 2002 marathon letter
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Read 2004 marathon letter

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