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Juliana Snelling

Journey of one prompts support from many

Six-thousand participants raised money for Dana-Farber in the 2005 
      Jimmy Fund Walk.

Six-thousand participants raised money for Dana-Farber in the 2005 Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk.

To a person with a life-threatening illness, it may feel at times that his or her path is one that must be walked alone. But surrounded by a sea of more than 6,000 individuals who are joined in a common cause during the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, it's easy to see that this is not necessarily the case.

On Sept. 18, 2005, it was never more apparent that people affected by cancer have a community to rely on. Walkers, including many Dana-Farber staff members, came for all kinds of reasons. They walked for their patients, friends, coworkers, and family members, many of whose names and faces adorned their T-shirts. They came to support strangers, reaching out in empathy and in hope of making the next person's journey an easier one by striving toward a goal of $4.75 million for research and care at Dana-Farber.

For Bermudian Juliana Snelling, the 17th annual Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, which took place on September 18, 2005, represented a celebration of her son Jude's recent remission. The two-year-old was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare cancer-like blood disease, in 2004.

To mark the occasion, she and the six other partners at the law firm Mello Jones & Martin, where Snelling works, flew in from their island home to hike the 13.1 miles from Wellesley High School or the 3-mile Walk from Harvard Medical School, two of three routes people could take (along with the entire 26.2-mile Hopkinton-to-Boston trek). The team also walked for a family member of one of the partners who has been battling cancer.

"When I told my colleagues about the Walk, they all said they'd love to join me," says Snelling. "Having two out of seven partners' families at our firm dealing with this disease has had an emotional impact on us all. It's just amazing to me that they all got on an airplane and came up here. The fact that the group was willing to give up a few days of business for this event speaks to the quality of people I work with."

Snelling and Jude's dad Nic read about the Walk during their son's frequent visits to the Jimmy Fund Clinic and knew that they would participate for the first time this year.

"Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund Clinic are a home away from home for us," explains Snelling. "Everyone makes us feel so welcome. Jude's doctor, Alejandro Gutierrez, MD, deals with sick children day in and day out. Yet he makes us feel that Jude is special, and has always been responsive to our questions as though Jude is his only patient. The level of care here is the highest in world. This Walk is a way to say thank you and to help make other kids better."

- Dawn Stapleton