I am participating in the 2021 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk: Your Way presented by Hyundai, taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer!
I walk in honor of William and in support of his family. I walk in memory of so many loved ones lost too soon and in support of all families suffering a similar fate. Our annual walk is a beautiful way to come together and keep hope alive. This year our walk is virtual once again, due to Covid-19. Together we will carry-on and walk our own path on October 3rd.
William was the oldest of five children of Arnold and Gail Kraft.
I've had the distinct pleasure of being a part of the Kraft family while working as Dr Gail's pediatric office manager, in their home since 1987.
In December 1994 William had just completed the first semester of his junior year at the University of Pennsylvania. As he prepared for his second semester abroad in Paris, he packed up all his belongings and came home to his family for the holidays. Will was handsome and brilliant with a wonderful sense of humor, always perfectly healthy and completely excited for his next adventure studying abroad.
In 1994 his youngest sibling Steven was ten, Elizabeth was in middle school, Karen in high school, and Jon was nearby at Brandeis. The kids were all excited to have their big brother William home, so happy to spend the winter holidays together.
As William began complaining of some mild neurological symptoms, his mother arranged for a visit with a neurologist while he was home that winter.
The subsequent MRI revealed an anaplastic astrocytoma grade 3 brain tumor. The shock of this news hit the family hard as everyone understood this was a very serious diagnosis.
Instead of going to Paris as planned, Will had brain surgery, radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He spent the semester recovering at home.
Still determined to keep up with his class at Penn, William took summer courses at Brandeis and resumed attendance at Penn for his senior year, where he graduated with his class, University of Pennsylvania class of 1996.
Every six months, Will had to be rescanned, as this type of tumor had a high likelihood of recurrence...
For six years he was doing well and fully functional, working in high tech and living in the Fenway neighborhood, attending as many Red Sox games as he could, and enjoying his friends and family. Will had a great attitude and always maintained his wonderful sense of humor despite the constant fear of waiting for the other shoe to drop. He worked hard, passed his GMATs and was in the process of applying to grad schools.
In the fall of 2001, his MRI showed the tumor returned as a glioblastoma multiforme, the worst possible news. :( William then endured another brain surgery and more chemo treatments at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.
William soon began volunteering his daily efforts to The Jimmy Fund. Always a huge Red Sox fan, and now understanding first-hand the importance of the research done at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, William was inspired to help other children who may be diagnosed with cancer to have the best treatment options available in order to buy more time with their families and have a longer quality of life.
In September 2002, in the spirit of "if there is a Will, there is a way", he successfully walked the entire 26 miles to raise money for the Jimmy Fund Walk. Demonstrating his sense of humor as well as his love for The Blues, Will named his walk team "Built for Comfort, Not for Speed".
In February 2003 William passed away at his parents’ home surrounded by his family and friends.
In September of 2003 the Jimmy Fund Walk team “In Memory of Will Kraft” was formed and we set a goal to raise enough money to create a fund in his name at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Will's team is now rapidly approaching the Million dollar mark!
The Will Kraft Fund is well established in brain tumor research, directed by Will’s oncologist, Dr. Patrick Wen at Dana Farber:
William would be so pleased to know his team is still going strong and many families have benefited from the world class research his fund has provided. Thank you for your generosity.
Please contribute on-line or mail check to :
Jimmy Fund Walk
P.O. Box 3595
Boston, MA 02241
Don't forget to put my walker ID# 1009817 in the memo line of your check!
Thanks so much! Lori
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 compassionate patient 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 Jimmy Fund Walk fundraising efforts. Together, we can help families suffering with cancer!