Heather's 2007 marathon letter

Dear family and friends,

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has past since I sent out my first “marathon letter.” For those of you who have lost count, on Monday, April 16th, I will be running the 111th Boston Marathon, my tenth in a row as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team.

Suffice to say, it’s been an amazing ride. Nearly four years ago, I married my favorite running partner, Tom, after being introduced to him at a Thanksgiving Day road race in 1998. Since my first marathon, I’ve moved six times, most recently an hour south of Boston in Plymouth, so now I train on the flats of the Cape Cod Canal instead of the hills of Newton. I’ve changed careers a few times and earned my MBA after four long years of part-time classes at Boston College. I’ve kept up a notoriously busy schedule between business travel, board commitments, and generally having a good time. And throughout those years, you have fed my love of a good challenge and helped me to raise more than $70,000 for cancer research at Dana-Farber. Thank you for your support and encouragement!

Dana-Farber has been home to amazing advancements in cancer research and treatment over the past decade. An incredible drug called Gleevac came from research at Dana-Farber (as well as MIT, where I work) and is used not only to treat leukemia patients, but also patients with a previously incurable digestive-tract cancer. Another drug, Endostatin, can shrink tumors by cutting off their blood supply. Investigators discovered a single gene that, when defective, is the most common source of inherited breast cancer. Additional genetic research has uncovered proteins and gene abnormalities that have lead to advanced detection and prevention of a wide variety of cancers. But let me share a more personal story of what your support has meant.

I drove by Fenway Park today on my way to a board meeting at Dana-Farber. On the light posts along Brookline Avenue, there are banners hanging, commemorating more than fifty years of Boston Red Sox support of the Jimmy Fund. On one side is a photo of slugger David Ortiz with a tiny girl dressed in pink, bald as can be. A cancer patient.

Well, that little girl is my patient-partner, Amber DaRosa, now a healthy young lady who has finished the last mile of the Boston Marathon with me ever since. She is living proof that every mile I run is worth your support. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds Barr Program researchers at Dana-Farber, ensuring novel approaches in basic cancer research.

Nearly a decade is complete, but I’m not. Here’s to another ten years!

With thanks and appreciation,


PS: My letter is late this year, but I will be collecting donations through the end of May. It is important to me, however, that I continue my tradition of wearing the names of your loved ones on my marathon-day singlet. So please drop me an email at hkispert@yahoo.com before April 14th with your submissions. And check out pictures and letters from previous years at http://www.racedirectors.com/H/marathon.html

Read 2006 marathon letter
Return to Marathon page
Read 2008 marathon letter

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