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I will ride the Pan Mass Challenge again this year, as I have since 2011, to honor my late father-in-law, Frank Burstin. But this year, I have a story to share I hope you will take a few moments to read...
I have a lot in common with my friend Peter Kristensen.
We are both in our early 50s. We both have two young children, close in age, who all attended the same elementary school in our Washington, D.C. neighborhood. Our families are members of the same synagogue in Washington, where Helen and Peter's wife Sunny completed their adult B'nai Torah (also known as Bar or Bat Mitzvah) together just a year ago.
But there's one very important difference: I am (thankfully) in good health, while Peter has spent the last month at home recovering from a fairly radical surgery that removed hundreds of malignant tumors from his abdomen.
Earlier this year, Peter was diagnosed with an uncommon type of cancer that started in his appendix and spread. He endured nearly three months of chemotherapy before the surgery, and now faces many more intense rounds of chemo after his wounds heal. He is doing remarkably well, but his ordeal is far from over.
Peter's story scares me, because it could be mine. It's a reminder that when it comes to cancer, none of us is immune.
That reality is the reason why I am asking for your support, once again, as I ride my bicycle 190 miles across Massachusetts in two days (Aug. 2 & 3) as part of the Pan Mass Challenge. I have become an enthusiastic repeat participant in the this even for one important reason: Every dollar you donate -- 100% of all rider-raised donations** -- goes to the world renowned Dana Farber Cancer Center to support not just unsurpassed care, but the kind of groundbreaking research towards a cure that gives us all hope.
I have to raise a lot to ride the PMC -- a minimum of $4,300 to qualify -- so I hope I can count on your support again this year.
Why I ride: Fourteen years ago, I asked Frank Burstin for his blessing before proposing to Helen on her favorite beach on Cape Cod. As a teenager, Frank survived Auschwitz and four years of concentration camp slave labor. In his sixties, he survived a quadruple bypass. In his early eighties, he was remarkably fit and healthy, but in just three short months in 2008, cancer took his life. It robbed us all of the proudest grand-Poppa you’ve ever seen (click the "photos" link on the left to see for yourself).
In Frank’s memory, for the fourth year in a row, I will join more than 5,500 cyclists in riding the I will the 192 miles across Massachusetts and Cape Cod to help raise money for cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) in Boston.
U.S. News and World Report ranked the DFCI as the fifth best cancer hospital in the nation. Funds raised by the PMC support the efforts of more than 3,000 faculty and staff members. Those donations have resulted in:
Increased survival rates of pediatric cancers.
Decreased incidence rates for colorectal cancers and lung & bronchus cancers.
More financial assistance to patients and their families in need.
Greater funding of investigator-led clinical trials.
To take part in this event, I need to raise a minimum of $4,300 (though I’m aiming for more), and I need your help to reach my goal.
“Live for today,” Poppa Frank wrote, “because yesterday will never return, and who knows what tomorrow will be.” Please take a few minutes, right now, to help make tomorrow a better day for all those battling cancer.
Last year, 100% of rider-raised revenue went directly to the Jimmy Fund.
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