This is my fifth year participating in the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk to raise funds for the organization that saved my life.
This is the second year that I am captaining the Neuk the Leuk team to raise funds for the doctor/super-hero that saved my life-- Dr. Daniel DeAngelo & his research team to help discover treatment plans for the many kinds of leukemias that do not yet have a cure.
On February 20, 2014, when I heard the words "leukemia" for the first time at Framingham Union Hospital, I was given the choice of either Tufts or Dana-Farber. After a quick Google search, we decided on DFCI. At that time, the rounding doctor learned of my situation and said he had a friend at Dana-Farber who happened to be a leukemia oncologist there and that he'd give him a call to see if he could "squeeze" a "24 year-old leuk patient" into his completely full roster of patients. What I didn't know is that the "friend" he was calling was a world-renowned leukemia oncologist who had been instrumental in discovering the treatment plan that I would be put on and that would eventually save my life. I have thought about that moment quite often, as it is a moment that altered the course of my life --- someone must have been looking out for me to pair me with this brilliant, caring, and kind man.
I look at "Dr. D" as the man who answered every single one of my questions, picked up my phone calls at 11:30 at night when he was on vacation with his family, gave me big hugs when I entered the room, had a belly laugh I could hear coming from down the hall, the man who drove two and half hours to the Cape (after treating patients all day) to be there for my wedding-- he feels like family. But Dr. D is more than just an incredible, empathetic human being- he is pushing boundaries in medicine to find cures for those that currently don't have a path to a healthy life like I was blessed with. As the Director of Clinical and Translational Research in the leukemia program, he travels all around the world to share his findings and educate those on 'what's next' in leukemic care. Your dollars don't just go towards "research" -- they go towards the future of cures from those with blood cancers. They go towards future 24-year-olds, like me, diagnosed with rare forms of leukemia, so that one day Dr. D can attend their wedding too.
From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for supporting my efforts to Neuk the Leuk!
Lots of love & light,