I’m excited and honored to share with you that on Monday April 20, 2020, I will be running the 124th Annual BAA Boston Marathon. After supporting the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge in 2019, I’ve decided to run the 2020 Boston Marathon through Mass General Hospital’s Emergency Response Team on behalf of my Father, Francis Grey.
Why Am I Running?
On July 28th, 2019 I was meeting up with my family for my mother’s birthday lunch. While eating a few appetizers my parents surfaced that they have some news they would like to share. It was in this very moment that my father presented my twin sister (Courtney) and I with the terrible news that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Unbeknownst to Courtney and myself, my father had already received the official diagnosis from Good Smartian Medical Center in Easton, MA. The doctors there had informed him that he would be starting hormone therapy on August 11th. My initial thoughts went to the countless stories I would hear while I was running for Dana-Farber last year about cancer patients going in for a second look at either Dana-Farber, and MGH, to only find out that the cancer was actually worse that expected, or the current treatment plan wasn’t necessarily what the patient needed. With all of these patient testimonials in mind, there was no way I could have my father only receive one opinion on his diagnosis. Thankfully my family has the most incredible support group - thanks to Brett and Marilyn Gammon, my father was able to get in touch with some of the best doctors in the world. MGH’s Dr. McGovern was able to review the initial diagnosis and refer my father to Dr. Matthew Smith, an internationally recognized expert in prostate cancer and Director of the Genitourinary Oncology Program at MGH Cancer Center. My family knew my father would be in good care with Dr. Smith, considering his extensive background in this field of medicine.
Once Dr. Smith analyzed all the tests that had been conducted, he presented my father with his official diagnosis: stage 4 metastatic prostate cancer. When the diagnosis was delivered, my father was provided with different treatment options, along with the life expectancy (yes, I said life expectancy). According to Dr. Smith, the best course of action for my father’s treatment, (due to his age, and a few other factors) was to not only continue with the hormone therapy shots he was currently receiving, but also include Enzalutamide Medication. During our last trip to see Dr. Smith, my family was told that on average, metastatic prostate cancer that has spread to the hip bone, and to lymph nodes (which is my father’s current situation) would give the patient around 3-4 years to live. The inclusion and expedited process of the Enzalutamide will add another 12-16 months to my father’s life.
Hearing this news was definitely a tough pill to swallow. Leaving MGH after receiving the official diagnosis with a treatment plan and an estimated number of years is truly a gut checking moment. For anyone who knows my father, he may be a lot of things, but he is most certainly not a quitter. My father is without a doubt my hero and I have always looked up to him. I have watched him battle and do whatever it took to support my family over the years. Even after hearing his full diagnosis my father remained positive, but I could sense that he didn’t really know how to fight this disease other than to just follow the treatment process. Knowing this, I began to look into ways that I could provide him with an additional layer of support and something to hold onto to keep his head held high and his spirits higher as he takes on this disease. I have decided to run the 2020 Boston Marathon through Mass General Hospital’s Emergency Response Center to provide my father with support and just enough of a spark to fight, stay positive, and make the most out of every day throughout these remaining years.
Over last few months, the support and treatment that Mass General Hospital has provided to my father and my family has truly been incredible. We have been provided with options and confidence in my father’s treatment plan since meeting with Dr. Smith. My goal is to give back to MGH where they need it the most for the remarkable care they have provided my family. I need your help to assist Mass General patients and the community in an emergency. Please consider contributing to this very special program. Your donation will help advance the work of those individuals who dedicate their lives to protecting others and responding to our calls for help at a moment’s notice.
In 2014, the Mass General Emergency Response Marathon Team was created in recognition of the lifesaving response of hospital employees following the 2013 Boston Marathon® bombings. The ER Team has raised more than $2.3 million in six years, providing critical funding to the hospital’s emergency preparedness and disaster medicine efforts that benefits victims worldwide.
Marathon funds support the training and resources needed to develop a carefully integrated response that spans multiple departments throughout the hospital and ensures that Mass General is ready for the next disaster – be it man-made or natural.
“There’s no room for error,” says David Brown, MD, chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Mass General. “Our performance must be flawless. As in football, if one player of the 11 on the field doesn’t do the job, the play fails.”
Mass General takes emergency planning very seriously. Preparing for that next disaster takes thoughtful training and lots of practice. Donors are critical to our success. Time spent training is not covered by insurance and often takes place outside work hours. Money raised by the Mass General Emergency Response Marathon Team allows Mass General to be ready . . . ready when second’s count.