I began walking the JF Walk in memory of my father who was diagnosed with lung cancer at the end of August, 2004. His battle was brief, passing away just seventeen days after he was diagnosed. The first two years I walked the half-marathon and for the four years after that, the entire 26.2 miles. Although the full marathon isn't easy, it's nothing compared to what those battling cancer face every day. After taking a few years off, I've decided once again, to walk/fundraise for The Jimmy Fund and DFCI. This year I will continue to walk in memory of my father, but also for friends and family that have, or are presently battling this horrible disease. I will also walk for Grady. Grady is from Salem and a camper at Blue Devil Basketball Camp. This is his story.
Grady was diagnosed with ALD (Adenoleukodystrophy) on August 17, 2018. Thankfully, it was caught early when his parents spotted some very minor changes in Grady's hearing. An MRI showed a lesion in his brain that was destroying his healthy, normal 8 year old brain. ALD, a terminal disease that leaves many boys in a vegetative state within a year of diagnosis, was just given to the Smiths.
Very difficult decisions were made and many procedures would quickly follow, the largest being a bone marrow transplant at Boston Children's Hospital with the help of the Jimmy Fund Clinic at Dana-Farber. Within a month they had a 10/10 perfect match unrelated bone marrow donor. Grady not only took to the transplant quickly, he had very few complications. He was released almost a month early and has been managing his meds, treatments, therapies and minor setbacks at home surrounded by his great family, team of tutors and therapists. Despite this very grave disease, he is defying all the odds and coming out on top! He takes on each day with a strength well beyond his 8 years. He continues to inspire so many families and children going through this same experience.
The outpouring of love and support from family, friends, the local community and beyond has been amazing! “Thank you” is simply not strong enough.
There is still a long road ahead, but we keep pressing forward, knowing:
“Tough times don't last, tough people do.”
I am participating in the 2019 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, taking steps toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer!
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!