Less than a year ago, we lost our 12 year old daughter to glioblastoma (brain cancer), sometimes called the "emperor of all cancers." Average life expectancy of this disease is not long. Very few survive more than a couple years after diagnosis, but most are taken within months. Our daughter, Madi, passed away 10 months after diagnosis.
After she was rushed into emergency surgery at another Boston hospital, we made the decision to switch to MGH Pediatric Cancer Center for her treatment. The team at MGH expressed confidence that they could remove the remaining tumor from her brain (a risky surgery that the original hospital's team refused to do). MGH did exactly what they said they could do and she suffered very few neagtive side effects afterwards.
Once the second surgery was complete, we had to begin radiation and chemotherapy treatments. MGH not only boasted top-notch treatment (one of 20 proton therapy centers in the US and experience with the newest immunotherapeutics), but also provided a team of loving and geninuely caring health care professionals who took care of our daughter literally until her very last moments on earth.
MGH doctors, nurses, and staff laughed and cried with us, bonded with Madi, spent time with my husband and I helping us find the most promising and cutting-edge treatment, and even made housecalls when Madi was homebound with the disease. I was shocked when I realized that - like many other pediatric cancer centers - only about 30% of MGH pediatric oncology's operating budget is covered by the money they bring in. The rest comes from donations.
Some of the highlights of Madi's visits to the hospital were the times when childlife specialists, art therapists, or music specialists would come in and create with her. Nearly all the mental health workers involved in Madi's case were subsidized by donations. I feel honored and deeply invested in raising money to support the mission of this organization. The money will also go towards research that will help develop new innovations that may one day eradicate this stupid disease.
You will not meet another group of such knowledgeable, capable, and compassionate people. They gave us months with our daughter that I do not think we would have had without their help and then maximized the ability we had to enjoy that time with her.
Running for me has always been a way of working through hard things in my life. I chose to run the Boston Marathon on the MGH pediatric cancer team because it is as much a therapy for me as it is a help to them.
Madi and I had started running races together before she got sick, the last one she actually ran unknowingly with a brain tumor while raising money for cancer research. Running was a bonding experience for us (even though she always said she hated it :)).
I hope I will feel closer to her as I run this year.
Please consider donating - even just a little- to support us and others who may have to walk the path we did. We all appreciate your generosity!