One week ago I decided to keep track of all the things that I buy but I really don’t need. If you are like me, it’s amazing where some of your money goes. My list included items like: an outdated magazine, an on-demand movie which I could have waited until it’s on HBO, another pair of running socks, gum, and then other pack of gum because I misplaced the first, take-out because I was too tired to figure out dinner, and some way too expensive gourmet cookies. I estimated my spendthrift bill was over $40.
The reason I decided to take a look at the way I spend my money actually came from a Dana-Farber runner’s meeting. How do the two correlate? Each year, I run the Boston Marathon for a charity. This year I am running for one of my favorite organizations, Dana-Farber as part of the Marathon Challenge Team (DFMC). Each runner’s meeting begins with a reading of what is called an Impact Statement. The statement read the evening I attended was about Dr. Shannon Turley and her research on determining the fundamental reasons why human immune systems do not reject cancers. Her investigation has led to the discovery of a new class of cells that can suppress immune responses against cancer. Dr. Turley’s discoveries are focusing on some of the toughest cancers to treat, such as pancreatic, and will lead to new therapies that can help the immune system to reject these cancers. This is just one example of many research initiatives being funded by the money raised by the DFMC team.
When I left the meeting I thought to myself, Dana-Farber really knows where the money is being spent. One hundred percent of the funds raised by DFMC team members support the research initiatives. I got the sense they understand the importance of every dollar and the risk of wasting it. Dana-Farber values the generous gifts they receive and respect the trust given to them to use these funds sensibly.
This understanding gave me ease giving a donation and made me more comfortable asking others to donate as well. From my spending exercise, I have realized that I don’t always know where my money is going, and learned that my money is not always being spent wisely. If I could go back and spend that same money again, I think I would have felt better knowing it was used to help controlling growth of breast cancer or a new treatment for Neuroblastoma in children instead.
One of the best opportunities I get while running for DFMC is to be part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Partner program. My partner is Brendan, an exceptional 10-year-old who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in the end of 2009. Brendan is thankfully in remission, but is currently undergoing two years of aggressive chemotherapy to help ensure the cancer doesn’t return.
I created a blog, at https://dfmc2011.wordpress.com for Brendan and me. My entries are conversions between two team mates. I invite you and welcome anyone to follow along, and check back often. There is always plenty of talk about running and training, Lego’s and food (especially Kiku Yama, Brendan’s favorite restaurant), cancer and treatments, good days and bad…and yes the weather (way too much talk about the weather this year). But most of all, it’s about two people teaching each other about living life.
I sincerely thank you for your time reading this letter. Please support me and Brendan and others like him. Donations can be made online. You can find the link at https://dfmc2011.wordpress.com.
Thank you very much for your generosity!