10.5 Miles Down, 15.7 Miles To Go!

So far, 45 friends and family members have raised a collective $6,000! That’s 40% of my $15,000 goal. To translate that to marathon mileage, we’ve already hit the 10 mile mark. For all of you Massachusetts natives and Boston Marathon enthusiasts, that means we have successfully completed the downhill portion running through Hopkinton and Ashland and we’re currently making our way through Natick. Yes, we still have 15.7 miles to go but that is not too shabby considering there are almost three months remaining until Marathon Monday.

Fundraising Progress Thus Far…

Thank you so much for all of your help! A special shout-out to the most recent cancer-fighters: Kathleen Thielman-Puniello, Dawn Carrillo and Don & Dawn Hall. Yes, that’s right, my MIL and FIL are at it again! To provide yet another running analogy, they’re kind of like that gelatinousness-sugary goop that you suck down when you’re in need of an energy boost. They continue to provide additional motivation and for that, I am incredibly thankful.

$225 for every mile so far!

Running 26.2 miles for a non-runner can be daunting or in my case, down right scary. However, there will be no shortage of inspiration come Marathon Monday, thanks to all of you.

The collective generosity of friends and family has already helped raise almost 40% of my total goal and there are almost 3 whole months remaining! As if this incredible demonstration of support hasn’t been moving enough, I have also been flooded with touching stories of true cancer heroes. There have been accounts of young cancer victims who created not-for-profits before passing and whole families that have struggled through treatment but are still persevering.

I spent the majority of my runs this weekend reflecting on many of these stories and all of the names of loved ones that have been shared with me. Undoubtedly, they motivated me through the tougher parts of my runs and have strengthened my commitment to this already important cause. I very much welcome your stories and of course, do not hesitate to send more names of loved ones who you’d like to honor. Remember, all of the names of your friends and family will be incorporated into my Marathon Monday outfit.    

I would like to send out a special thank you to TJ, Aunt Karen, Veronica & Jeff, Bridget, and Cathy for their generous donations! THANKS!

Another example of how your donations make a difference:

New Understanding of Lung Cancer

Lung cancer claims more lives than any other cancer, and is extremely difficult to treat.  The Barr Program provided the initial funding in 2002 to Dr. Matthew Meyerson, who discovered genetic abnormalities in certain lung cancer tumors.  This discovery defined the patients who benefit from two drugs, Iressa and Tarceva, which have proven effective in treating the 10% to 20% of lung cancer patients whose tumors contain the specific mutations that were discovered from this Barr research.  Today, these drugs are being used successfully with lung cancer patients across the world whose cancer were previously untreatable.

One Third Complete!

What an amazing week this has been!  In only 7 days, 26 incredible friends and family members donated a combined $2,000, putting the grand total over $5000! 

Exactly $1000 was donated since my last post through the beneficence of people all over the country.  A Penn Stater, a native PA skier relocated to Seattle (we miss you in Boston), a genuine Buffalonian, a Yellowstone fish breeder, and the classiest NYer I know, all showed their support for this amazing cause.  I’d like to give a special thank you to my MIL and FIL for making an incredibly munificent donation in addition to their tireless efforts to help the fundraising mission. Many, many thanks to everyone who has contributed to my cancer-fighting, fundraising efforts!  You are truly inspiring!  

As promised, here is another example of the amazing steps that are being made through your generosity!

Use of Vaccines to Control Cancer
An important area of cancer research asks why humans don’t reject tumors in their own bodies.  Funded by the Barr Program, Glenn Dranoff, MD, discovered complex regulatory pathways in the human immune system that cancers exploit in order to escape destruction.  Reversal of these effects can lead to the development of vaccines against cancer, a recent example of which is Provenge for prostate cancer. This Barr research has also enabled the development of multiple other vaccines and immune modulators for melanoma, ovarian cancer, and prostate cancer that are now in advanced clinical trials across the world.  If these trials are successful, an exciting and entirely new option for treating certain types of cancer will become available.


100 days to go!!!

With only 100 days to go, over 30% of my fundraising goal has been raised!!!  During the last 48 hours, an astounding $1,242 was donated by friends and family (and the donations are still coming in!).  I cannot possibly express how this demonstration of generosity and commitment to fighting cancer has touched me.  As today brings back memories of the commencement of my leukemia treatment, I am confident that our support of cancer research will forever alter the way we view this disease.

I know that it can be challenging to remain supportive of cancer research while we continue to lose loved ones to the disease, but huge steps are being made.  To demonstrate how your donations will make a difference in this fight, I am going to begin including specific examples of Dana-Farber projects that are funded by the Barr program.

New Treatment for Neuroblastoma in Children
Neuroblastoma has historically been a very difficult cancer to treat in children, and, although chemotherapy and stem cell transplants have improved survival, relapse is common and nearly almost always fatal.  With Barr support in 2007, Rani George, MD, PhD, discovered that a significant number of neuroblastoma tumors contain a mutation in the gene ALK.  Several successful drugs already exist to treat other types of cancer that demonstrate these same ALK mutations, and Dr. George and her team have initiated clinical trials that could result in new treatments that will improve survival for children with neuroblastoma.  

15 Year Cancerversary!

It is official… today is my 15 Year Cancerversary!

Exactly 15 years ago today, I was confronted with a cancer diagnosis: specifically, acute leukemia (AML). After two induction courses of chemotherapy, interthecal chemo, a bone marrow transplant, and numerous hospitalizations for infections, fevers, and treatment side effects, I earned the title of Cancer Survivor.

However, that didn’t mean the battle was over. Rather, it was merely the beginning of a life-long mission to eradicate this disease. Please help me with this incredibly worthwhile cause by donating to one of our nation’s top cancer centers. Everyday, the researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute work on finding new treatment options.

Not certain that cancer treatment is actually going to improve? Well just today, I attended an excellent talk by one of Dana-Farber’s research physicians who will receive some of his funding from the Dana-Farber Boston Marathon team. In other words, your donations are going directly to some of these studies. So what is he doing? Currently, his laboratory has numerous studies underway that are testing novel cancer drugs that were synthesized in the lab. The best part, they are having amazing success with many different types of cancers and even malaria!

Today is not only a day to fight cancer but also celebrate all of the wonderful things in your life.

Thanks for being a part of my life!