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<--with Kate this April at the PMC Pedal Partner Party at Fenway Park
A record breaking winter and potholes the size of small cars, a busy work schedule and 2 boys playing 4 sping sports = a bad start to this year's Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) training season! It will be here before we know it (August 1-2) and I will get on my bike regardless of my training regimen. Once again I will ride 170 miles from Wellesley, MA to the tip of Cape Cod and I am looking for your support on this journey. This will be my 15th year participating in this event and I am proud to say that I have personally raised over $160,000 dollars for the fight against cancer. With the fundraising we did last year, Team Perry hit its 5 million dollar milestone! It is truly thrilling to know that we are making a difference!
As most of you know, my first husband Perry passed away in 1999 after a short battle with cancer of the small bowel. It is hard to believe that it was 15 years ago, July 4th weekend that Perry and I sat in his hospital room to learn of his diagnosis - we were devastated. We had been married less than 2 years and he was the picture of health! We knew it would be a hard road but Perry was a fighter and we had every reason to believe he would beat it. Four months later, he was gone. It is still unthinkable that Perry, a marathon runner and tri-athlete, lost his life at the age of 32. Last year, I found myself riding in honor of my mother-in-law, Rebecca who was actively fighting the fight against multiple myeloma! I am so thrilled to report that she is officially in remission and doing great! But, this disease truly knows no bounds - and as I write I am hoping and praying for a similar result for one of Max's friends, Connor- age 10, avid hockey and lacrosse player who was just diagnosed in March after waking up one morning with no feeling in his legs. Connor has his whole life ahead of him and he deserves to live it to the fullest. This has provided me re-newed motivation to continue this uphill battle to try and lick this horrible disease!
Living through the tragedy of losing Perry and all the bumps and bruises I have experienced since then, has made me appreciate everything my life has become and giving back is now such an integral part of it.I could not do any of this without the love and support of my husband Josh (and our children Max and Ryan - who are proud Kids PMC Riders - riding a combined 29 miles this year!).It is no small feat to manage a team of almost 70 riders who raise approx. $500,000 a year.Josh not only allows me the time to coordinate the troops and go on the much needed training rides while holding down the fort at home, but he also understands my passion to try and make a difference. Words cannot express my love and gratitude for his support - he is an incredible man, husband and father.
This year, Team Perry will once again be paired Kate, our Pedal Partner who is currently receiveing treatment at DFCI. Kate is a beautiful 7-year-old little girl who is currently being treated for T-cell ALL, a form of childhood leukemia. Kate is full of spunk and loves sparkly things. She is amazing in so many ways. Her parents, Evie and David, are wonderful people. They are doing everything in their power to get Kate well and keep her smiling, even in the midst of a very aggressive treatment protocol. They are so grateful to Team Perry for everything we do, and I think, "What do we do? we pedal our bikes." But then I think of how those pedal strokes translate to dollars, and how those dollars have funded and will continue to fund the salaries of some incredibly brilliant fellows who've made enormous contributions to the research and treatment at Dana-Farber. We have supported many amazing doctors over the past several years and our brand new Fellow is no exception.Dr. Andrew Aguirre is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, was an intern, resident, and chief resident at Mass General, and has been doing his oncology training at Dana-Farber. Andy is now doing innovative studies of functional genomics at the Farber in the laboratory of Dr. William Hahn.
Finally, we received this note this week directly from the Head of GI at DFCI (Dr. Charles Fuchs):
“With Team Perry’s generous support of our effort to genomically characterize all patient tumors in the GI Center, we have completed two landmark studies, led by the 2014-15 Perry S. Levy Fellow, Marios Giannakis. The first study identified a new gene in colon cancer, RNF43, that represents a novel target for therapy, and we are now conducting a clinical trial of drug that targets this gene in patients at DFCI. In the second study, we identified genes that appear responsible for making colon cancer invisible to the immune system an important leap in our effort to develop immunotherapies for GI cancer. Finally, with the support of Team Perry, we are now completing enrollment to an unprecedented clinical trial that is examining the role of high dose vitamin D as an adjunct to cancer treatment for GI cancer.”
Ok ... so here it comes. The ask!Please GIVE and please know that no amount is too small, I really mean that. Its for CONNOR and its for KATE!
They've made it easy - click the "Donate to My Ride" button below and help us make a difference in the fight against cancer. If you would prefer to donate by check - please make it payable to "PMC-Jimmy Fund" and send it to my home at 33 Liberty Street, Natick, MA 01760. Thank you! Melissa