Walkers make every step count to conquer cancer
On Sept. 13, 2009, more than 7,700 men, women, and children demonstrated their commitment to conquering cancer by participating in the 21st annual Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk, presented by Hyundai. Dedicated walkers, ranging from children in strollers to great-grandparents, traveled along the historic Boston Marathon® route with a unified purpose: to eradicate cancer and raise an anticipated $6.6 million for Dana-Farber.
"The Walk is truly inspirational," said Institute President Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, upon completing the Hopkinton to Boston 26.2-mile route. "You can literally see the support of thousands of people who are walking to end this terrible disease."
This year, registrants hailed from 35 states and five countries.
The Walk's presenting sponsor, Hyundai Motor America, led the way for more than 30 corporate sponsors who contributed funds, goods, and services to the event.
"Hyundai's dedication to the cause is most apparent by the fact that we've been involved with the Jimmy Fund since 1998 and had nearly 100 participants on the Walk course this year," said Hyundai Eastern Region General Manager Peter DiPersia.
Through its sponsorship, dealer contributions, and fundraising, the automotive giant contributed $300,000 to this year's Walk.
A survivor's support
For the past nine years, Win Thurber has traveled from Mobile, Ala., to participate in the Walk. He began this tradition in 2001, the year that his Dana-Farber oncologist Lee Nadler, MD, senior vice president for Experimental Medicine, delivered the news that Thurber's non-Hodgkin lymphoma was in complete remission. After relaying this information, Nadler challenged Thurber to do his part to help others still struggling with cancer. Thurber followed his doctor's orders and tackled the Hopkinton-to-Boston, 26.2-mile route to raise funds for the Institute that saved his life.
Since 2001, Thurber and Nadler have walked together and cumulatively raised more than $202,000. This year, Thurber was unable to attend the event and participated as a "virtual walker."
"It is a good feeling to be able to walk for such a wonderful place as Dana-Farber," said Thurber. "In nine years, I've yet to meet an unpleasant or unhelpful person."
Angels all around
In 2006, Teresa Buckenmaier's 6-year-old daughter Allie was diagnosed with sarcoma and lost part of her foot to the disease. After hearing of her diagnosis, Buckenmaier's friends and family showed their support by forming the Allie's Angels Walk team.
Throughout the past four years, walking for Allie has become a community endeavor. Allie has defeated her cancer, and the team has collectively tallied more than $60,000 to date. Of the 30-person contingent, half are Allie's neighborhood friends who, along with her and her four siblings, take time to fundraise by wearing their Walk T-shirts and "canning," or soliciting canister collections, outside supermarkets.
"The kids' motivation is amazing," said Teresa Buckenmaier. "We are lucky to have so much support from all our friends and family. The best part of the Walk is meeting up with Allie for the last three miles and crossing the finish line cancer-free!"