This is my second Jimmy Fund Walk. On October 4, I will be walking in gratitude for my amazing care team at Dana-Farber, and in the hope that the funds I raise will help in a small way to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s unique balance of compassionate cancer care and cutting edge treatment. I also will be walking in memory of friends and colleagues lost to cancer over this past year - Michael, Kathy, Ann, Frank and Wendy - whose courage and good humor were such a help and inspiration to me in my own journey.
One question I have been asked this year is why raise funds for cancer in the middle of the COVID 19 pandemic. My answer is that cancer will still be here when we have (hopefully) developed treatment approaches for this Coronavirus. I am alive and stable today thanks to a treatment approach to treating brain tumors pioneered a decade ago, and Dana-Farber's work today will help others who cannot be treated as successfully with current therapies.
Dana-Farber's work is especially urgent for pediatric cancer patients. I see these young people every time I visit DFCI, and I am always inspired by their bravery, and by the dedication of Dana-Farber doctors and other caregivers to treating these patients and supporting their families.
Dana-Farber has worked to treat these children (and me) right through the COVID 19 pandemic. Their doctors, nurses, radiation technicians, blood lab technicians and support staff have not hesitated to step up during this time, keeping the clinic open for treatment and developing protocols to keep patients and staff safe. This can-do spirit is so typical of the smart-science approach that Dana-Farber brings to every aspect of their work.
The Jimmy Fund Walk this year is more important than ever. For me, my participation is a salute to the courage, dedication and compassion of the Dana-Farber team. I am grateful for any donation you can make. In this extraordinary time, whatever you can give will show support for Dana-Farber's extraordinary work.
On March 1, 2020, I attended a Dana-Farber event and heard Dr. William Kaelin, who won the Nobel Prize in medicine, describe his family's experience with brain cancer. Dr. Kaelin's words have stuck with me: we need to keep working on treatment so that we don't have to say we have run out of options, as his wife did. For me, and for every Dana-Farber patient, that is why DFCI's work on clinical trials and basic research is so very important.