Heather's 2012 marathon letter

Dear family and friends,

It’s my favorite time of year, and this time I’m in the running! A week from today, I will return to Hopkinton after a year’s hiatus to run the Boston Marathon for cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute!

Last year was a magical one in so many ways. Our daughter, Mackenzie, was born six weeks before the Boston Marathon. So, instead of making 26.2 mile trek, I spent the day in Boston with Mackenzie, my family and my patient-partner Amber and her family, hosting a hospitality suite for my running club and watching the lead runners from the sidelines as they finished on Boylston Street. It was a humbling day, reminding me of how much runners invest their body, mind and soul to finish, no matter the cause.

The board for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge graciously allowed me to stay on the DFMC team and instead run the New York Marathon in November. Eight months after giving birth, I was on a ferry to Staten Island with one of Tom’s best friends to find the start line with a field nearly twice as big as the Boston Marathon. After all these years of running, this was the first time I had run a marathon other than Boston. For those of you who are runners, the sayings “Boston is the most difficult marathon out there” and “mile 17 is the real half-way point in Boston” suddenly became vividly clear while running NYC, a much flatter course. We took our time and enjoyed the day, but I relished returning to Hopkinton!

Which brings us full circle to April 2012: my fourteenth Boston Marathon and fifteenth year on the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team. Fifteen years is a significant milestone for DFMC members, and I am honored to be part of a small group of individuals who remain dedicated to supporting cancer research at Dana-Farber in this way. In fifteen years, there have been incredible advances in cancer treatment as well – DNA markers have been identified for breast cancer that better predict its aggressiveness; sub-types of ovarian cancer have been discovered that respond better to treatment; still more gene mutations driving blood cancer have been uncovered.

Over this past year, my family and friends have all experienced a cancer diagnosis. It is in no small part because of the incredible research at Dana-Farber over the past fifteen years that their prognosis is positive. This year’s return to Boston is dedicated to each one of them.

Please take a few minutes today to support my 15th marathon run. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds Barr Program researchers at Dana-Farber, ensuring novel approaches in basic cancer research. 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.

With thanks and appreciation,

Read 2011 marathon letter
Return to Marathon page

Last updated on April 9, 2012 .
Any problems, contact Heather.