A(nother) Reason to Ride

As a Pan-Mass Challenge rider, you have the opportunity to not just raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, but also to direct (or restrict) the funds you raise to a specific researcher. My original plan was to keep my funds unrestricted – as are 70% of the funds raised by riders each year – in part because there were too many choices of just those that have touched my own community. Breast. Pancreatic. Skin. Colon.

But then I learned about Harry. Let me turn this over to his parents, Eunice and Kevin:

Harry“It was 11 years ago that Harry was diagnosed (with craniopharyngioma – a type of brain tumor), and over these many years we have meet many other craniopharyngioma families, some of whom have had great success with more traditional treatments but some that have not.

This year is especially important as Harry’s team of doctors at Dana-Farber are about to embark on ground breaking research effort that may result in a targeted therapy to stop craniopharyngioma tumor growth. This is particularly exciting because there are no known effective chemotherapeutic for pediatric craniopharyngiomas making treatment difficult, especially when surgery and radiation treatments are no longer an option (as is the case for Harry).”

Over the past 10 years, Harry and his parents have raised nearly $200,000 to support pediatric programs and research efforts at Dana-Farmer and Boston Children’s Hospital. But this year, they have decided to restrict their funds towards a promising treatment, and they’ve asked me to join the effort.

Knowing his parents, and learning more about Harry – an honor roll student who, despite brain surgery last December, regularly having his cyst drained and extensive testing & brain scans, is vice president of his sophomore class and manager of the girls varsity basketball team – I am in awe of their courage, their strength and their hope.

I am also reminded how lucky my husband and I are, how good we’ve had it, and how easily a diagnosis of cancer could change it all.

And how I have the power to help. So I’m adding Harry’s name to my bracelet, and directing my funds to help find a treatment for Harry and other families looking for more than hope.

They are looking for a cure.

The Pan-Mass Challenge is in 11 days! You can help me reach my goal of $7,500, 100% of which will benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.