Last night was the Eaton Vance Rooftop Reception. I cannot express how much I look forward to this annual event. Jeff Beale, and Eaton Vance has hosted this valued event for the Dana-Farber leadership council for 13 years. There are many reasons to enjoy attending but the sole reason I go is because of the intimate setting that allows us to meet with some of Dana-Farber’s magnificent doctors, scientist, nurses and directors that dedicate their life to helping those who have cancer and their families. They speak about their projects, research, treatments and most importantly, their patients with such passion. We have the precious opportunity to ask them questions about them and their work. Their answers consistently amaze us.
It is rare to get an opportunity to personally see how your donations make a difference. Many of their programs and research are solely funded by people like you. They are improving the quality of care, saving lives, and continuing the effort to cure and prevent cancer.
Each year 6 exceptional Dana-Farber professional are invited to speak to us. The forum has 8-12 of us at one of six tables, and each of the speaker rotate to the tables. They have 15 minutes to talk and answer questions. The time always seems too short, but you would be amazed how much is discussed in that time. This year’s guest were amazing. Their stories touched our hearts, made us think and be thankful.
David Barbie is an Assistant Professor in Medicine and specialized in Thoracic Oncology. Dr. Barbie researches novel targets for therapy in lung cancer. He spoke about the advances in drug therapy, especially for non-smokers. His discussion on early screening for cancers and the cost of healthcare was insightful. Dr. Barbie describe himself as both a scientist and doctor, which provides a unique perspective in his research.
Kira Bona is an instructor in Pediatrics specializing in Pediatric Hematologic Malignancies. Dr. Bona researches the long-term economic impact of cancer of families of pediatric patients. This is a perspective on how income effects the rate of cancer, the treatment and the continual on going health of the child after treatment. Dr. Bona stated that much of the economic data is not there yet because the information is not collected. They hope to improve this overtime.
Douglas E Brandoff is an instructor in Medicine specializing in Adult Palliative care. Dr. Bandoff directs the Adult Palliative Care Clinic at Dana-Farber. What he does is amazing. It took a few minutes to sink in how important his role is to both the patient and the family. His role is to relieve and prevent the suffering of his patients. It is a job that takes an emotion toll on a person, and we are thankful for people like Dr. Bandoff.
Richard Boyajian is the clinical directory of Dana-Farber’s Survivorship Clinic, where he also serves as a nurse practitioner. Richard Boyajian is also a cancer survivor. He spoke openly about his own experience and the incredible changes in treatment since he was a patient.
Ellen Casey-Magleby is a Program Administrator for Dana-Farber’s Office of Patient and Family Assistance. This program assists patients and their family who are in financial need. The money helps reduce some of the daily living cost while on treatment. These expenses could be transportation, parking or even groceries. Her stories are both heartwarming and heartbreaking at times. This program is completely donor funded.
Nikhil Wagle is an Instructor in Medicine specializing in cancer genomics and personalized medicine. Dr. Wagle researches the susceptibility of cancer cells to chemotherapy. He described the advances in identifying cancers in the human genome. Dr. Wagle discussed the ability to identify these in patients early, by taking a tiny sample from prior treatments and test. Standards in patient protocol will help make testing easier in the future.
You can help people like this to continue making great strides again cancer.
Please donate today at http://www.rundfmc.org/2013/patricko
March 21, 2013
Today is 25 days before the Boston Marathon, the day I run 25 miles to help cure cancer. Don’t worry, you won’t be the first person to ask me if I realize that a marathon is 26.2 miles. To explain, we need to go back five years to my first marathon…
I stood motionless, as I watched runners continue to the 113th Boston Marathon finish line. It had taken me 16 months to reach this place on the course. The year before, just two weeks before my first Boston Marathon, I found myself in the hospital with a server case of mononucleosis, destine to watch my first marathon from bed.
Yet, there I was, in pain, defeated and unable to gather the strength to finish. When I looked up, I noticed the iconic red and orange Citgo triangle. To my right, Fenway Park in the distance. I realized I was at mile 25 of the marathon. With a little over a mile left, and after 2 years of hard work, I reached deep down for a way to finish. I commanded my body to start running, but after a couple of steps, I stopped. I tried again and again, with no success. I can’t remember a moment in my life that I felt more defeated, more hopeless. Minutes felt like hours. I desperately searched for the littlest bit of hope to give me the confidence to continue. I took my hands off my knees, lifted my head and lunged forward with a roar of pain and belief. This time I didn’t stop until the finish line. A life lesson that wouldn’t be challenged until…
Two years later I stood on that same spot. It happens to be the location where some of the children from the Jimmy Fund Client cheer on the Dana-Farber Marathon Team. This time I was hugging my Dana-Farber marathon partner, Brendan. At the time, he was a 10 year old patient being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Over the months before the marathon, Brendan and his family brought me into their world of a child with Leukemia. Brendan would walk me through the different treatments and protocols he would follow. He would explain to me about the different drugs that he would have to take. He showed me the tubes, the scars and the other pains of cancer that are left behind the curtain for people like me to never see.
I can’t think of another spot on Earth that has taught me more about what a human will do to endure. Since then, my marathons end at Mile 25 (with a 1.2 mile victory lap). I have seen the success of Dana-Farber through Brendan. Today when Brendan and I talk, it’s about school, video games, and girls (I wasn’t ready for that one!). Through events with the Dana-Farber Leadership Council I’ve had the privilege to speak with the doctors and scientists working on the next steps to cure cancer. I can tell you, our donations are well spent.
Like many of you, I am recently reminded that the cancer marathon is not over. Since my last marathon, an extended family member was diagnosed with brain cancer and is fighting for his life. A close family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized to the lymph nodes. And another friend continues her multi-year battle.
This morning, I ask you to help everyone to reach their Mile 25 by donating to Dana-Farber. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge directs 100 percent of funds raised to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of your company’s generous donation matching program. If you are unsure if your donation is eligible for a match by your employer, please inquire with your Human Resources department.
I sincerely thank you.
To donate go to http://www.runDFMC.org/2013/patricko
To learn more go to http://www.rundfmc.org/faf/home/ccp.asp?ievent=1039390&ccp=116364
To see Barr Program Impact go to Impact