Almost there! - late summer update
August 18, 2017
BENEFITING: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Inc.
EVENT DATE: May 25, 2017
HOURS PLEDGED: 100
Mileage Tracker: 1,000
On Tuesday, January 10th, 2017, at approximately 10:30 AM, I was sure I had just been handed my own "Death Notice". A pleasant young Attending Medical Physician calmly informed me that I had Pancreatic Cancer. I knew just enough about the seriousness of this type of cancer, and of people, both young and old, who did not survive long from it. The official statistics from the American Cancer Society confirm the morbid reality of this disease. It is the silent killer; usually not showing signs until too late to abate its growth and metastasis.
After the initial shock and horror of trying to come to terms with my life altering news, I found myself at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, under the guidance of two fantastic physicians. My Surgical and Medical Oncologist ensured that I felt I was not alone and would be well cared for as I began my journey down an unknown path.
Although for so many people with Pancreatic Cancer, this path can remain dark and ominous, I have been so very fortunate on mine.
1. My tumor was positioned and grew in such a way that it caused severe abdominal pain, which forced me into the hospital for scans; thus allowed me to find my cancer early.
2. Biopsy revealed that it was the rare Neuroendocrine Cancer, which grew and metastasized more slowly than the typical Adenocarcinoma; thus was contained within the pancreas and surrounding lymph nodes.
3. I was otherwise a very healthy 54 year-old man and excellent surgical candidate; thus given the opportunity to become cancer-free.
On February 23rd, 2017, Dr. Thomas Clancy, Surgical Oncologist at Brigham & Womens and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, brightened my path and gave me a chance to be a member of the small percentage of Pancreatic Cancer survivors.
Throughout this journey, during and post DFCI/BWH treatment, I have met many who continue to struggle through their fight with similar or other forms of cancer. This includes a young 25 year-old woman named Brittany Hammar, who as a young girl, lost her mother to Ovarian Cancer. As her neighbor living across the street, I watched Brittany grow-up and mature into the beautiful and vibrant woman she is today. While employed at Dana Farber Cancer Institute late in 2016, she took advantage of the Genetic Marker testing DFCI conducts, which revealed positive markers for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes and indicating she was predisposed for Breast Cancer. Genetic testing such as this provides patients critical insight that prompts self-examination and early cancer screening.
Recently, Brittany discovered a lump, which began her own journey down the path of fighting cancer. Receipt of this news echoed the magnitude of my good fortune thus far in my own battle. Thus, as I continue my recovery, I am compelled to “give-back” in some way.
So, in honor of young Brittany, and in support of all those fighting their own cancer battle, I am raising what money I can for DFCI. To accomplish this as well as facilitate my own physical, mental, and spiritual recovery, I am returning to my great love of Trail Running.
I am pledging to run 385 miles of New England trails over 18 weeks between May 26th and September 30th. This will include the 224-mile Bay Circuit Trail, an established trail beginning in Newburyport on the north shore, and traversing the 495 corridor, ending in Kingston on the south shore. More information about the BCT can be found at: http://www.baycircuit.org/
I will supplement these trail runs with an additional 161 trail miles through various state forests and parks.
Updates and mileage progress will be posted here and on Facebook.
Please pledge and donate a “per-mile” amount throughout my progress, or any one-time amount that you can in support of my effort. Your donation will help support Brittany in her battle, and give others like myself the opportunity to survive and live a cancer-free life.