family and friends,
My annual letter is quite late this year, but I hope you will forgive
me! I changed jobs at MIT over the summer, moving from the Alumni
Association to a position in resource development, traveling one
week a month to San Francisco to meet with alumni. I’m also
finishing up my MBA at Boston College and will—thankfully—graduate
next month. It’s been a busy year, but still nothing could
be more important than asking for your support as I run my ninth
Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17th as a member of the Dana-Farber
Marathon Challenge team.
Last year’s marathon weekend began with a visit from my college
friend Karen, whose husband Mark passed away from cancer. I had
asked Karen if I could run in memory of Mark, and she very bravely
made the trip to Boston for the marathon on the six month anniversary
of his death. It seemed only fitting that Karen would join me for
a Saturday breakfast with Brittany’s mother and sister, Linda
and Brianne, who understand all too well the pain of losing someone
so young. Yet we all found a little something in our memories to
smile about. On Sunday, Tom and I met up with Amber and her family
for the annual pre-marathon pasta party, at which Amber and I had
a great time getting our faces painted. My time with Karen, Linda,
Brianne and Amber stayed with me the next day and propelled me through
the streets of Hopkington, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley,
Newton, and Brookline. In the shadow of Fenway Park, I met Amber
at mile 25 and she ran, skipped, and walked the final mile with
me—a tremendous contrast to previous years when I carried
her much of the way. We were having so much fun that we lost track
of time and suddenly heard one-minute warning announced for the
close of the finish. I scooped up Amber and we ran the last hundred
yards giggling like crazy as our fans cheered us on. We missed the
close by only a few seconds, but I’ll never forget Amber telling
me to run faster!
As many of you heard, shortly after the marathon, Tom’s mother,
Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer. What you may not have known
is that this is in fact her 2nd diagnosis—more than three
decades apart. The first came in her late 20s after the birth of
Tom’s brother and sisters. Cancer treatment was much more
invasive back then, and while the mastectomy and radiation no doubt
saved her life, it took its toll, and she was told she would never
have any more children. As I am sure you have figured out, that
turned out to not be the case, and it is my wonderful luck that
Tom was born several years later!
In a strange twist of fate, Mary’s annual mammogram went missing
last spring, and her doctor ordered a new one—just in case.
I don’t think any of us will bemoan some administrative error
that caused the test to disappear, because the new one showed a
small lump in her remaining breast. She had a second mastectomy
in July, followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments, before
receiving a clean bill of health earlier this year. What struck
me throughout this period were her comments that the treatment had
improved so much, from the ill effects of the drugs to the physical
impact of the surgery.
Cancer research and treatment are improving every day, and you have
played an important role in this progress over the past eight years
by helping me to raise nearly $65,000 for cancer research at Dana-Farber.
Thank you for your never-ending support, whether financial or emotional.
hope that you will consider contributing this year and help me reach
that finish line to end cancer for good. 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 and Mark, my mother-in-law and Amber
are living proof that the researchers that we are supporting today
are closer than ever to finding a cure for cancer. Thank you for
your support and encouragement!
PS - Amber has
informed me that we will beat the clock this year!