I have had many opportunities to witness the importance JAF’s work to help cancer patients and their families in emotional and financial stress, though none more acute and close-to-home than through the words of a loved one.
Sharing with me those dark and desperate moments endured every passing week - the great physically pain and exhaustion from treatment, the emotional warfare between hope and reality, the looming thought of a life cut short – she said, “Some days, you wonder why you have to suffer, and you just want to die.” “All you can do is hope.” It was in that moment that I fully recognized, firsthand, the great significance of an organization and mission such as JAF’s that seeks to provide hope and also the consequences of NOT having hope. Where hope is absent, what should be celebratory is solemn, what might be cheerful is gloomy, what future there is seems not bright, but bleak. No, JAF cannot diminish the physical pain of treatment, affect the outcome of test results, or dispel the specter of death. But where there is a scarcity of hope, it can nurture it; where there is despair, it provides a reason to smile.
After 6 years of charity fudnarsiing for the Boston Marathon, I thought - “Maybe it’s time to give it a rest?” But I realize that hope is not a plentiful commodity for all those who face a cancer diagnosis. For this reason, I wish to continue to be the vehicle offering and cultivating that seed of hope for others who need it. And where hope is mercurial, waning, or shaky, why should I ever resign to ‘give it a rest’.
Last year I trained and encouraged my donors with this message – a quote from Paul Tergat, a former pro long distance runner: “Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’ The answer is usually: ‘Yes.’” I want to give more. And I know I can. Thank you for your consideration.