There's the MGH Story, and there's the rest of my story.
Two years ago, I'd never happily run a mile. Lots of things in between, but fast forward to this spring, and I ran my first half-marathon. Lots of steps (literally and figuratively) in between, but needless to say, running's now a critical part of my life. Mental and physical health, fresh air, a chance to see friends by fitting runs into already busy schedules: I'm sold. That's the running part. I'm incredibly nervous and excited, and plan to write and share my experience as I train.
That's the running part. Then there's the personal part.
In college, my friend Eric self-diagnosed himself with leukemia. How did he know? His younger sister had already died from the same disease years earlier. He checked himself into a Boston-area hospital, and started treatment almost immediately. He stayed in school and in the dorms throughout most of his treatment. Not one to stand on the sidelines, he was fully engaged in his entire course of treatment, and became somewhat infamous in his ward for both his involvement and his antics. He hung out with the much younger pediatric cancer patients, playing with them and keeping their spirits up. He volunteered to speak about cancer in elementary and middle school classes. He raised money for cancer research/care institutions. We thought he was in the clear, and he was even in remission. Sadly, the side effects of the chemo and radiation had damaged his brain beyond recovery, and he passed away in the fall of 2008. He was an amazing man, I miss him all the time (especially when I spot anyone on a unicycle), and he's inspired me and many others to keep his memory alive.
His wonderful friends from home biked across the country (thousands of miles!!) during the summer of 2010, raising money (almost $20,000!) for leukemia research--they were honored as part of the 2011 one hundred through the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. You can read their story here and here.
I'm no biker. But especially through my 2.5 years working in the MGH Development Office, I've had the opportunity to see the impact of donors and supporters on the amazing work being done at MGH and MassGeneral Hospital for Children. I'm excited to have the opportunity to run in memory of Eric and in honor of all of those patients and families, at Mass General and around the world, who face the challenge of cancer every day. $5,000 is a drop in the bucket--but it's a drop nonetheless, and I ask you to join me in supporting the fight against pediatric blood cancer this year. Donations of any size are welcome: $1 or $1000, the more the merrier. If your company can match your gift, I ask that you look into that opportunity. Share this link with friends and families who might want to donate. Donate an item I can raffle off an one of the fundraising events I plan to hold this year. And come support me and the other members of the MassGeneral Marathon team on April 16 2012!
Thanks in advance for your support and confidence in me and in MassGeneral Hospital for Children,
About the Marathon Team
Since 1998, with the partnership of John Hancock Financial, the Mass General Marathon Team has raised over $6.7 million to support the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). Funds raised are directed to cancer care and research initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the hospital’s youngest cancer patients. Apply to run on the 2012 Mass General Marathon Team today!
The MassGeneral Marathon Team is centered around the Marathon Patient-Partner Program, in which runners are paired with patients undergoing cancer treatment at MGHfC. When our runners set out on Boston’s grueling 26.2-mile course, they not only raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research; they inspire and bring hope to the youngest patients we serve.
Last year, 50 children undergoing treatment were paired with Mass General runners. Some runners take part to support young patients they already know and love while others bond with a courageous child they have never met through the Patient-Partner Program. At an emotional pre-race pasta party and ceremony on the night preceding the marathon, runners presented a medal of honor to their patient-partner. It symbolizes a shared personal commitment in the fight against pediatric cancer, and represents all the hope we have that our efforts at Mass General will lead to a cure for this devastating disease.
The Child-Life Program
The Child-Life Program within the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MGHfC benefits every year from the funds raised by the Marathon Team. The program utilizes therapeutic play — including music and art therapy, massage and acupuncture — to help pediatric cancer patients and their families cope emotionally and developmentally with their illnesses. This year, more patients than ever before utilized Child-Life services, an indication of the growing popularity of the programming, the recognition of its importance and the program’s ability to continue to expand its offerings — thanks in large part to philanthropic dollars.
Learn more about the causes we support and the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MGHfC at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children web site.
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