Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Boston Marathon 2012, Here I Come...

And more importantly... Cancer, Watch Out!

Sequels usually stink.  With a few exceptions, we are always disappointed by that second movie that promises greatness but only disappoints- Jaws, the Revenge and Lion King II are just two examples.  However, this is not your typical sequel.  This year's goal of $16,000 for 16 years cancer-free, will be faced with determination and even greater motivation.  Since I spent the past year working in both the adult and pediatric oncology programs at Dana-Farber, I have developed a greater appreciation for how far cancer treatment has come, how far it still needs to come, and of course, a greater appreciation for how blessed I am.  Thus, I have committed myself to celebrating another cancer-free year by fighting the very disease which has shaped my life.

The Marathon Back-story
I first decided to run in last year's Boston Marathon while brainstorming ways to adequately celebrate 15 years cancer-free.  Donny and I considered heading back to Alaska or doing some extreme bike ride.  However, the moment I read about the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge while perusing the Dana-Farber Employee Website, I knew that was exactly how 15 years cancer-free should be spent.

My Story
In case you're new to my blog, I'll bring you up to speed... On January 6,1996, I was diagnosed with AML (acute myeloid leukemia).  After two courses of chemotherapy, it was recommended that I have a bone marrow transplant.  Despite the unfavorable odds, my younger brother turned out to be a match and on April 9, 1996, I received his stem cells but only after more chemo and total body irradiation.  Over two months, I experienced serious transplant complications including graft versus host disease and grand mal seizures.  However, I pulled through with the help of friends, family, and the amazing medical staff at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI).

Going for 16!
Although I cannot yet say that I have been free of cancer for 16 years, I hope to reach this milestone on April 9th, just about one week before the 116th Boston Marathon.  Even though I have been out of treatment for quite some time, the side effects of my treatment and my career in oncology serve as daily reminders that every day is a gift.  Speaking of gifts, the miracle baby, aka Gus, is spunkier than ever (see proof below).

What does cancer look like?
Although I wish every one of you could run the marathon with me (and preferably just carry me through the hills), I was able to make it through the tough sections of the course last year knowing that I had your support and more importantly, that I wasn't doing this for me.  This year, I am putting together a collection of photos of cancer fighters.  These "Faces of Cancer" are why I run and why we all feel so passionate about the cause.  Therefore, I am asking that when you donate, please send an email to with photos and names of the cancer fighters you would like to honor, encourage, and/or remember.  If you have the time, I very much appreciate stories.  We all know that cancer fighting can be represented by more than just a bald head so don't feel limited.  As the band Wideawake sang, "it may break my body but never break my soul."

Please help me celebrate 16 years cancer-free and celebrate the souls of those amazing cancer fighters that we all love.  Click Here to donate to innovative basic cancer research and to help us move towards a world without cancer.

One of the many "faces of cancer".
(She also happens to be an inspiration to me.)

My inspiration for the day...

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