family and friends,
It’s that time of year: in less than two weeks, on Monday,
April 20, I will be running the 113th Boston Marathon as a member
of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. A dozen years…
Who would have guessed when I nervously toed the line in 1998 that
I would return year after year to run the granddaddy of all marathons?
Certainly not me—the few times I did join friends for a run,
it usually both began and ended with me grumbling: the early hour,
their far-too-quick pace, an accumulation of blisters from ill-fitting
sneakers. What changed? I have been inspired—a dozen times
over—by the most amazing young women, waging their own personal
marathon against cancer research.
By Brittany Lambert. Brittany was my patient-partner that first
year, an amazing teenager who celebrated life as passionately and
fearlessly as she faced death. I have remained close to her family
and earlier this winter went to a Bruins hockey game with her sister,
Brianne. Brianne has grown into a beautiful, self-confident young
woman who openly shares her dedication to Dana-Farber. As we reminisced
and enjoyed one of Brittany’s favorite pastimes, my mind traveled
back in time, recalling nearly verbatim a conversation with Brittany
about meeting her favorite Bruin. Brianne now shed new light on
that encounter, describing how Brittany had been feeling poorly,
but had perked up ten-fold when the opportunity presented itself.
Carpe diem, after all. Two incredible sisters, the same conversation,
a dozen years apart.
Amber DaRosa. Six years ago, Amber was diagnosed with leukemia.
Although four year-olds are not usually allowed in the patient-partner
program, an exception was made because Amber’s parents are
high-school friends of Tom’s. She meets me every year at mile
25, and I have had the immense pleasure of watching her evolve into
a healthy, cancer-free young lady. The first year, we pushed her
in a carriage. The next, I carried her most of the way. The following
year, a slow walk. Most recently, she’s been the one pushing
and pulling me along that last mile. This winter I joined Amber
and her family at a special party for runners and their partners
at the Children’s Museum and could not help but wonder at
the transformation of this nearly-ten year-old as she easily (and
repeatedly) climbed a rock wall. It’s nothing compared to
what she’s already survived.
These young women, and their families, inspire me through the miles
each year. And they remind me that we still have many miles to go.
Please take a few minutes today to support
my 12th marathon run. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds
Barr Program researchers at Dana-Farber, ensuring novel approaches
in basic cancer research.
thanks and appreciation,
As I have every year, I will be wearing the names of your loved
ones, cancer victims and survivors, on my marathon-day singlet to
spur me forward. Be sure to email
me so I can include them.