In 1979, a few short years after I was born, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. When discovered, the cancer had already spread to her lymph nodes. Doctors told her she would likely not survive, but she proved otherwise. I was lucky, because at the time, breast cancer was often fatal, and treatment options were centered around making life comfortable, not fighting the disease process. In the past thirty years, advances in the detection and treatment of breast cancer have been phenomenal, and a majortiy of people who are diagnosed today can be successfully treated. This is in large part due to research: in pharmaceuticals, in radiological sciences and in biology.
In 2005, my luck ran out and my father lost a very long and courageous battle with a rare and fatal type of cancer, which, to this day, has almost no successful treatment, only palliative care. My father underwent major surgeries, experimental medications, and even began a process to receive an autologous vaccination. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about my dad- his life was cut way too short by something physicians and researchers don't fully understand, despite years of investigation.
When I think about both of my parents, one thing is clear: without vital funds for research and monies to assist less fortunate families who may be uninsured, underinsured or ineligible for certain experimental treatments under the scope of their insurance policies, many more children would be without parents, and parents without children.
I choose to live out the legacy of my father: I will never have his talents, nor his intelligence, but I will always be a giver. In 2010, as many of you know, I raised several thousand dollars, with your help, for Fred's Team, benefitting Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and ran with the team in the NYC Marathon. The faces that I saw as I ran past the hospital that November morning were unforgettable. The experience of combining two things I love made a huge impact on me, and I cannot wait to do it again! In April 2012, I will run the Boston Marathon. I know I can far surpass my fundraising goals this time. Please help me raise money for this incredible foundation- benefitting cancer patients and their families alike, and allowing valuable research and life saving treatments to continue.