Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Ask and you shall receive

A few weeks ago, I went running along the Charles wearing a relatively new Saucony jacket, in which I placed my car key, only to find it missing from my pocket upon returning to my car. This killed me, because a few years ago I lost a different car key along a similar run. That time, I had stopped for a mid-run snack and forgot to zip up my pocket, so the key fell out. Since then, I've been very conscious of the state of my zippers at all times, so you can imagine my confusion when I saw that the pocket was in fact zipped, but the key was gone! Unfortunately, the pocket was attached to the jacket by iron-on hemming tape instead of an actual stitch, and a small bit of the tape had come undone, exposing a hole at the bottom of the pocket. $337 later, I had a new "smart key" provided by the Toyota dealership.

My new favorite company
Saturday, at the DFMC team training run, I was talking to a woman named Paula, who complimented me on my choice of jackets. It turned out that she was a rep from Saucony who had come to the meeting to demo running gear and provide support to the team. She gave me her business card and asked me to email her with the story of the lost key.  I wrote it up, and indicated that I didn't need any more gear, but they were more than welcome to aid my fundraising effort. The next morning, Saucony made a $337 donation. I was pretty excited about this - at best I had expected an apologetic response and a gift card, but this was a much more meaningful gesture.

I also had an awesome run on Saturday.  I had planned on 16 miles, and after the first 5-mile turnaround, I found myself running alongside a pack of girls who were actually running my pace. My new friend Amanda convinced me to stick out another 2 miles with her, which I did, finishing an 18-mile run with an average pace under 7:40/mile. Six weeks ago I was hardly running at all and still in PT for my hip-- so I was feeling pretty good with this run.

I'm very appreciative of my experiences this past weekend. The people at Saucony made me realize that many people are willing to give money towards this cause, so long as someone simply asks them. My run with Amanda reminded me that I'm a pretty good runner, and that all of this effort is not only relevant to the stories of my own friends and family, but to a lot of others as well.

Everyone I've met running with Dana-Farber, like Paula and Amanda, have had similar stories about the ways in which they've been impacted by cancer. Few have said "I wanted to run the Boston Marathon and DFMC was my ticket into the race." I heard from two different people on Saturday that they recently lost someone, almost suddenly, due to pancreatic cancer. I've spoken a lot about melanoma and prostate cancer, because of my high risk, but I knew nothing about cancer of the pancreas, so I figured I'd take a look at what the Claudia Adams Barr Program has been doing in this realm.

I found something pretty interesting: it's apparently been discovered that an anti-malarial drug called hydroxychloroquine is effective in shrinking or slowing the growth of pancreatic cancers:

Hydroxychloroquine is a drug that inhibits “autophagy,” a process that enables cells to break down and eliminate structures such as damaged cell membranes. Cancer cells use autophagy to outwit chemotherapy treatment: by activating this process they survive the stress of therapy. Alec Kimmelman, MD, PHD, with Barr Program support in 2009-‘10 discovered that autophagy is turned on all at all times in pancreatic cancer cells suggesting that pancreas tumors are highly dependent on autophagy and therefore good candidates for autophagy-inhibiting treatments. Testing with mice treated with the drug, the treatments were found to be very effective and Dr. Kimmelman plans to move to human trials soon.

I strongly believe in the mission and impact of the DFMC team. In my last post, I wrote about how much I enjoy running, and I am certainly excited about running the Boston Marathon-- but that's not why I'm running for DFMC. I'm part of this team because I wanted to do something to raise awareness, and money, for the fight against cancer.

With that being said, I've decided I won't be satisfied by hitting my goal of $6500, which I expect to surpass well before Marathon Monday. I've raised my fundraising goal to $8000 and with your help, I'll get there.

No comments:

Post a Comment