I’m imagining a world without cancer, while running, and I’d greatly appreciate it, if you join me!
On October 5, I’m planning to run a NY Road Runner 10K in Central Park; I have two goals: 1) raise funds to fight cancer, and 2) finish the race in one hour or less.
Every year 10 million lives are lost to cancer worldwide with 17 million cases diagnosed; this is expected to rise to just under 30 million cancer cases by 2040. This is a global crisis, but what can we do?
I’m doing what I can by raising funds for an organization focused on an innovative new approach in the global battle with cancer. I’m doing this because of the broad impact of the disease and also personal experience in my family with cancer; my father, my aunt, my uncle, and my grandmother have all had cancer.
The organization I’m supporting is called AKTIV Against Cancer and they are focused on the critical role that physical exercise can play with fighting cancer and providing more effective treatment.
A unique opportunity exists to transform the landscape of cancer management. AKTIV is supporting research 1) to examine the benefits of physical activity to control symptoms and side effects of cancer therapy; 2) to determine whether exercise itself can reduce cancer progression and improve response to anticancer therapy, and 3) to explore whether exercise has a positive effect on recurrence and mortality in patients with early stage cancer.
AKTIV Against Cancer has pledged $3.3 million to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to fund exercise oncology research of this kind via researcher Dr. Lee Jones. A breakthrough is certainly possible.
The 10K race that I’m running in Central Park is named after Grete Waitz, an extraordinary runner who had her own bout with cancer. In 1979, she became the first woman in history to run the marathon in under two and a half hours. She won nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988, more than any other runner in history. Although she died young at age 57 due to cancer (the same age that I am turning on my birthday), her legacy continues in both the running world and for philanthropy for cancer. Indeed, AKITV Against Cancer was co-founded by Grete Waitz in Norway in 2007 and has raised more than $14 million for cancer research.
On Labor Day weekend I serendipitously met Dr. Dwain Fehon, who is Chief Psychologist for Psychiatric Services at Yale, with a specialization in psycho-oncology. His research is focused on integrated psychological care to aid coping, resilience and quality of life with patients living with advanced cancer. After sharing information with him on the efforts to battle cancer with physical exercise, dispensing physical activity in “doses”, like medicine, he commented as to how it should be possible to combine forces, fusing body and mind practices, in order to better battle the ravages of cancer over time. I found this hybrid concept quite encouraging and intriguing.
In summary, I’m excited about the prospects of what physical exercise might do to help in the battle against cancer. I’m planning to do my best to run as fast as I can on October 5 and to raise funds for AKTIV; I hope you might support me, it would make my very happy for my birthday (on October 7, two days later!), and by working together we can make a dent in the universe and move the world forward.
Note: I aspire to raise as much money as possible for this event, above and beyond the goal. Likewise I aspire to run as fast I can and get my running time below one hour by as many minutes as possible. Onwards!