Dear family and friends,
It’s April, and you know what that means! In just a few days, I will head out to Hopkinton to the starting line of the Boston Marathon – my 15th time running Boston and 16th year running marathons to raise funds for cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute!
Last year, I ran two marathons in five months for Dana-Farber: New York in November 2011, then Boston in April 2012. While this was not quite “back-to-back” in runner’s terms, it did mean back-to-back fundraising efforts. You didn’t disappoint: in those short months, you helped me raise more than $13,000. In fact, over the past 15 years, you have helped me raise more than $110,000 toward cancer research at Dana-Farber. Many of you have told me that my annual marathon run is your priority among all of your other charitable giving. I am humbled and awed by your generosity.
Last year, I also reached a significant milestone for the Dana-Farber team as one of just five “15-year” runners. As I walked onto the stage at the Pasta Party the night before the marathon, I was brought to tears thinking of all of the people who have supported me over the years – at my side at training runs and races, or cheering me on from afar through your letters, emails and phone calls. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
This past year has not been without sadness. Shortly before I ran New York, I received a letter from a former colleague. We worked together at a local bank years ago and had stayed in touch, primarily through my annual marathon letters. She was a prolific writer, and I always looked forward to receiving her notes, chuckling when she occasionally informed me that I had “earned a raise” for that year’s fundraising effort. Her latest letter was upbeat, sharing the news that she and her long-time companion had quietly married over the summer. I was completely shocked when, in her final paragraph, she shared that just weeks after her wedding, she was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her letter concluded with a call to action: “So, Heather, please run for me, too, this year.” She passed away this fall, but her words are embedded in my mind.
So, my friends, I will run.
Please take a few minutes today to support my 16th marathon run. 100% of your tax-deductible donation funds Barr Program researchers at Dana-Farber, ensuring novel approaches in basic cancer research. We have seen incredible advancements in cancer research, but there remains much to be learned.
With thanks and appreciation,