I finished the walk! It was inspiring and is healing for me. I meet so many people who have their own personal reason for walking 26.2 miles. For that day, we are all family and understand the importance of what we are doing.
Thank you to all who donated.
Below is my story:
I am participating in the 2018 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer!
Every day it seems that someone I know has a cancer diagnosis. It continues to take lives of people I love. I walk for family and friends affected by cancer. I’m a 15-year breast cancer survivor, my husband Rick a 12-year prostate cancer survivor, and my daughter Amy an 8-year leukemia survivor. In the last two years, my mother-in-law Carolyn survived cancer but my brother Chuck did not. This year I am riding for Cathie Perra, Sal Perra, and Chuck Funk who are currently fighting cancer. I am also riding for those who lost the fight this past year including my brother Chuck Barney, Rebecca Pandiscio, Fitz and Aunt Joan who lost her battle many years ago.
2016 and 2017 were roller coaster years for our family. First, we were planning a wedding and doing projects for our daughter Amy and our future son-in-law Josh in 2016. Then in April, my mother Carolyn was diagnosed with lymphoma. My husband, my sister Mary Lou and I were caregivers, which was a long process with chemo and two emergency surgeries lasting through the spring, summer, and fall. During that time Amy and Josh got married in July. My mom is now healthy, happy and doing well.
My brother Chuck who had battled diabetes for a long time was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in late December 2016, which broke our hearts when we found out about it. Unfortunately, Chuck passed away in January 2017. He was only 59.
My daughter Amy inspires me every day. Amy was diagnosed in 2010 with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), two weeks after her college sophomore year. She endured two separate month-long stays in Boston during that summer. She endured chemotherapy to get her into remission in the first month and a stem cell transplant from her brother Matt in the second month stay. Amy had to miss her junior year at college but graduated with her class on time by taking on-line classes to keep up. Because of Amy’s experience, she realized she wanted to become a nurse after witnessing the tremendous impact nurses have on the patients’ experiences in the hospital. Amy went back to school and is now an RN at UMass Pediatric ICU in Worcester.
Cancer touches everyone and cancer does not discriminate. Because of the generous donations in the past, many survive cancer diagnosis. We need to continue with research and clinical trials to help more cancer patients win their battle.
Remember, you are in charge of your own life. You may not have control over everything that happens in your life, but you do have choices on how you handle what life gives you. Live each day. Take good care of yourself. Exercise, eat healthy, get enough rest, and don’t smoke. Do things in moderation, laugh often, think positively, have faith in God and pray. Be thankful for your blessings and be kind to yourself and others. If you think you have a health problem, see a doctor, but don't just accept what the doctor says. Listen to your body, talk with others, and do research. Insist on treatment; don't accept a "wait and see" answer. Early detection and taking good care of yourself does make a difference. Please remember - women schedule your mammograms and men have your PSA tested every year if you are over 45 or as recommended by your doctor.
When you make a gift to my walk, you’re directly supporting Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s unique 50-50 balance between cutting-edge science and highly compassionate cancer care. Your support allows Dana-Farber leaders to enhance programs and initiatives that serve pediatric and adult patients and their families.
Thank you for supporting my participation in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Together, we can conquer cancer!