I truly want to thank you for the many calls, texts and emails of overwhelming expression of concern for my safety, and the safety of my family, my Dana-Farber partner, Brendan Barrie, and other close friends. Your thoughts and prayers was heartening during this awful tragedy.
My heart aches for Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi, the many others bombing victims and their families. You will always be a part of me with every run.
At this time there are no significant injuries to my fellow Dana-Farber runners, volunteers, or staff. Sadly, I have heard of a confirmed report of serious injuries to two family members of a Dana-Farber runner. Please keep them in your prayers.
12 seconds. It was the time between hearing the first explosion, questioning if this could actually be a terrorist attack, to hearing the second explosion, confirming your worst nightmare. It was the amount of time you had to process where every one of your love ones are long the 26.2 miles and determine if they are they safe from harm. Staring down Boylston St, moments after the blast, I knew my family was in the center of it all. It wasn’t until 5 p.m. when I knew everyone was safe and I was reunited with my wife.
The magic of the Boston Marathon is not 27,000 runners participating in the world’s oldest annual marathon. It is how 500,000 people complete the marathon together. From Hopkinton to Boston, the marathon route is lined with spectators and volunteers cheering and helping every runner along the way like no other. They have one mission: get you to the finish line. Year after year, they are there for you and they never disappoint. For many of us, we couldn’t imagine running Boston without them. On this day, it seems we are one big family.
Monday, our family was attacked. Although we cannot truly empathize with those, whose love ones where hurt or killed, we mourn with you. I promise, we will keep you in our hearts. I promise, we will demand justice against those responsible for this horrendous and cowardly act. And as I struggle to do something, anything, I promise to run on Patriot’s Day, half a millions strong, for you.
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