Heather's 2011 marathon letter

Dear family and friends,

In answer to your questions: no, yes and yes!

  • No, I did not run the Boston Marathon this spring.

  • Yes, I had a really good reason: Mackenzie Rose Hagerty arrived on March 5th.

  • Yes, I’m running a marathon for Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge this year, but with a twist!

Tom and I were delighted last summer to learn that we were expecting a little girl. And those who know me well will not at all be surprised that one of the first questions I asked my doctors was “can I still run Boston this year?” For the past 13 years, I’ve spent the third Monday of every April running 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston to raise funds for cancer research. Surely I could do it again just seven weeks after delivery. Wisely, both Tom and my doctors thought otherwise!

And thus the twist. With permission of the DFMC board of directors, I remained on the Boston team. However, instead of running Boston this past spring, I will run the New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 6th.  My mulligan!
Raising funds for Dana-Farber is incredibly important to me. We live in an era where all of us will know someone who has battled cancer. The researchers at Dana-Farber, particularly those supported through DFMC, have made amazing advances.  But for me, it comes down to three little girls.

For Brittany, who was my patient partner in 1998 when I ran my first marathon. We met by luck, paired up by the Dana-Farber staff, but she made a lasting impression. An impish smile, a wonderful love for life, an indomitable spirit. Brittany passed away a few months later from myelodsyplasia, a rare form of cancer.

For Amber, the daughter of two of Tom’s closest friends, who became my patient partner when she was diagnosed with leukemia at just four years old.  She fought back and recently celebrated her seventh year out of treatment. Now 13, she and her mom, Amy, spent this year’s Boston Marathon with me and Mackenzie watching the runners at the finish line.

For Mackenzie, who is perfect and healthy in every way. We hope that she will grow up in a world where one day cancer will be a disease of the past. However, we are realists and after much thought and research took the precaution of banking her cord blood. We hope it will be entirely unnecessary.

This is my hope: someday, we will not only cure cancer. We will prevent it.  This is why I run for these wonderful, beautiful girls.

Please take a few minutes today to support my 14th marathon run by September 30th. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds Barr Program researchers at Dana-Farber, ensuring novel approaches in basic cancer research.

With thanks and appreciation,

PS: Please make your contribution by September 30th, the end of Dana-Farber’s fiscal year. As always, 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.

Read 2010 marathon letter
Read 2012 marathon letter
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Last updated on April 9, 2012 .
Any problems, contact Heather.