I am participating in the 2022 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.
Why a Jimmy Fund Team?
I started the Jimmy Fund Team named “Beyond Cancer” in honor of my son Eric, who succumbed to this dreadful form of cancer as well as to bring an awareness and potentially substantial funding to head and neck research and treatment. My son Eric had a seventeen-year battle with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. As parents, we were blessed to have such an amazing son for 45 years. At the early age of fifteen, Eric was diagnosed at Children’s Hospital with an optic glioma. After surgery and thirty-six rounds of radiation therapy, his cheerful outlook, warrior approach, and more never waned. For several years, Eric was cancer free. Then gradually he developed leukoplakia which then evolved into squamous cell carcinoma. Eric had many battles to conquer as a warrior in the battle against this horrific disease. Yet, through it all he never complained. He had extremely complicated surgeries with outcomes that impacted his daily living, yet this warrior moved on only to continue to set high expectations and lifelong goals. Eric’s best friend described Eric as a “Renaissance man.” Eric reinvented himself throughout his life for the purpose of becoming more authentic and purposeful with each transition and always having goals to achieve.
Eric wrote his memoirs throughout his journey with cancer and titled them, “Beyond Cancer.” Thus, our team’s name. One of his last entries was as follows; “Cancer has taught me life is too important to give up on and family is too important to be without.” So, for us, we thank Eric for showing us how to make life worth living every day, show strength and endurance to overcome barriers in your pathway of life, find joy in the trivial things in life, start each day with a smile and a fresh start, genuinely help and care for others and love yourself and others whole heartedly.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) was Eric’s home away from home. He dedicated many hours volunteering, sitting on committees, and raising money for DFCI. At the root of all Eric did, his focus was not on himself, but others. So, raising funds to support head and neck cancer research and patient support would be exactly what he would want us to do. It was through loving and serving others, that Eric experienced a deep sense of family. Friendship, community, joy, and peace.