Friends, Family, Colleagues and Comrades :
In these divided times, amid the polarizing forces of politics, religion, musical preferences and sports affiliations, there remains a constant, universal truth that we can all agree on: Cancer sucks. Cancer is an equal-opportunity ruiner of lives.
The statistics on cancer are alarming. According to the National Cancer Institute, Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide, and roughly 38% of the population will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetimes. These statistics become more than just a number or a pie-chart when it happens to your family, your friends, and your loved ones.
I've signed up to run the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Full Marathon on May 5th. I've never been to Pittsburgh, but I can't imagine a better way to experience a new city than by running through it for 26.2 miles. This year, I've joined with the American Cancer Society to raise money for cancer research and awareness. I'll be running to honor two members of my family who have fought and are fighting cancer - my cousin, Patrick Williams, and my father, Dan Connelly.
About Patrick - If you looked up "Great Kid" in the dictionary, you'd likely see a picture of Patrick Williams. For those that knew him, no further explanation would have been necessary. Patrick Williams was a gifted athlete, scholar and all around awesome kid, who lost his 2-year long battle with cancer at the age of 21 three years ago. Prior to his more recent diagnosis, Patrick had previously been diagnosed with brain cancer as a small child. He fought that cancer and won, and went on to live a full and happy life that even his second cancer diagnosis couldn't get in the way of. During his second battle with cancer, he skydived, mountain biked, practiced yoga, befriended a toddler in the children's oncology ward, and never lost his willingness to live the fullest life possible despite his diagnosis.
About Dan - There are memories that will stay with you forever, and the day I got the call about my dad's cancer diagnosis is one of them. There's a natural tendency to think the people you love are invincible, but again, cancer is the equal-opportunity ruiner of lives. Dan Connelly is the oldest of three children, raised on a quiet cul-de-sac in Windsor, Connecticut. He would go on to become a Morehead Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill, after which he got married, raised three children, spent 30-years living all over the world in his job with Citigroup, and was just settling into the swing of retirement (and a steady schedule of tee-times at the local golf course) when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. He is currently undergoing treatment amid the support of loving friends and family.
As advances in treatment, detection, and prevention are discovered more and more regularly, the fight against cancer becomes more hopeful every single day.
What if it was your donation that funded the breakthrough that took cancer research to the next step? What if it was your donation that funded the campaign that convinced someone to lead a healthier lifestyle? You'd feel pretty great about it, wouldn't you? That's why I'm asking for your help. This is an opportunity to pay it forward and leave the world a better place than you found it. I'm asking all of you to consider making a donation of any size to help me make an impact in the fight against cancer. Feel free to share, forward, or pass along to anybody you wish.