Last year, inspired by my father's battle with kidney cancer, I decided to apply to run the 118th Boston Marathon. Although demand for charity bibs was at an all time high, I was extremely fortunate to be selected by to the only team I applied to, TeamBIDMC. Applying to Beth Israel was a natural fit, as that is where my father has been receiving treatment for the last three years.
Since I applied last year my father has had some ups and downs. Last year while I was ramping up my training, my father was once again at Beth Israel battling the cancer. In early January, an MRI revealed a 4cm tumor in his brain. He was in surgery within two weeks. While he was recovering at Beth Israel, I was training with a renewed passion completing an 18 mile training run. After a successful surgery and a few rounds of radiation, he was back home and returning to life as normal. It's amazing to think of something that could be so scary, became just a bump in the road. Recovery this time around was literally days not weeks or months. Once again we were completely amazed by the skill of the doctors and surgeons at Beth Israel.
In April, after months of extremely successful fundraising, I met both of the goals I had set. Complete the marathon with my two best running friends, and meet my fundraising goal of $7,500. Not only did I meet my goal, but the support of my friends and family pushed my fundraising past $10,000. I am still very thankful and completely awed by the support I received last year.
In the beginning of the Summer, CT Scans showed that the cancer was growing, and a decision had to be made to start another round of treatment. He was prescribed a medication called Sutent, that has been proven to be effective in reducing the risk of the cancer spreading, and for some fortunate patients it can even shrink the tumors. This time around, my dad was one of those fortunate patients. We finally had good news. After just two months on the medication, the tumors that had been growing, shrunk by over 50%.
In late August we received more good news. My dad was eligible to get into a trial for PD-1. PD-1 is the next great hope for Kidney Cancer and Melanoma patients. It is an immune booster, similar to the HD-IL2 treatment he had gone through, however, this drug has much less severe side effects, and a much higher success rate for putting cancer in remission. We have been following the development of this drug for the last two years. Trials for this drug are extremely limited, and difficult to get into. We are extremely thankful to Dr. McDermott and his staff for fighting so hard to get dad into one of these trials. The trial he is in is limited to 345 people nation wide, and those 345 people are split 50% melanoma and 50% kidney cancer. Getting into this trial was harder than getting a Boston Marathon bib last year!!
As his battle with cancer was going on he continued to run. As a family we completed the BAA 5k Marathon weekend. Over the fourth of July weekend, my father and my sister completed the Mad Half, a half marathon that takes place in my parent's home town of Waitsfield Vermont. We are currently all training for are next race, The Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa Florida in February of 2015.
This year, Kira had decided to join in the fun and together we are raising money for The Cancer Center Fund. We are so thankful for all BIDMC has done for our father and our family, and we are excited to be able raise money to give back and show our appreciation for all they have done.
Click here to learn more about The Cancer Center at BIDMC.