Why am I running the Boston Marathon to benefit Dana Farber?
Because my child died of cancer and every single day there is another child like her. Because even though Francesca, Beans – as we nicknamed her – died, she can leave a legacy through the money raised here to support the Infant Brain Tumor Program at Dana Farber.
In September 2020, my life changed forever when my six-month-old daughter Francesca was diagnosed with brain cancer Francesca was a healthy and hearty girl who loved to nap on her dad on long walks in her carrier. She loved to watch Sesame Street videos and smiling at me. She was an outgoing, bold and curious baby whose huge, deep brown eyes loved to follow whatever I was doing. She loved eating and being held close.
Within a week of her diagnosis we moved to Boston to give her the best shot. There, she stole the hearts of the nurses and doctors at Boston Children’s Hospital. Hospital staff would gasp with joy at her incredible, infectious smile. They treated us like family and in the midst of the pandemic, became our family.
Cancer took Beans' life on Christmas Eve, we have never been the same since and never will be.
The kindness of the people in Boston – the struggling restaurant in Fenway Park that gave us a free meal when they learned our daughter had cancer, the nurses who were by our side while Francesca died. We will never, ever forget the good people who were there for us in our darkest moments.
Not doing enough
Every single day there is another child like Francesca. A child who dies. A family whose lives are shattered with their diagnosis. A devastated family learning their child's relapsed. Unfortunately, we as a society aren’t doing enough for these kids.
Sadly, given the small number of patients, private industry does not invest or develop drugs for childhood cancers like brain cancer. Instead, smart researchers and oncologists like those at Dana Farber work to develop treatments using adult cancer drugs. This research and these clinical trials are expensive – they take years and cost millions of dollars.
In 2021, we raised $1.85 million for the Infant Brain Tumor Program.
And each dollar is game-changing in the fight for better treatments. You can read about some of amazing clinical trials and research this money is supporting here.
The doctors that you’ve backed through your contributions tell us this funding is already making a huge difference. Let’s keep that momentum going. Each clinical trial and research effort gets us closer to better treatments and to a world where fewer families have bear the loss of their child or watch them suffer through harsh treatments.