I’ll never forget that phone call, the one I got just over 2 years ago, where I was told “Congratulations Ali! you have been selected to join the 2018 JAF Boston Marathon Team.” Tears immediately ensued because in that moment I realized I would finally have the opportunity to accomplish my dream of running the Boston Marathon. Even more special, I was running to honor my Aunt Gina’s fight against cancer–my way of supporting her through her extensive treatments. Less than two months later, my Aunt Gina passed away, and my trek from Hopkinton to Boylston Street in April 2018 was done in her memory.
Less than 6 months later, when the Joe Andruzzi Foundation started accepting applications for the 2019 Boston Marathon team, I knew I had to apply. It was a no brainer, and I had 2 goals in mind. 1, raise more money for an amazing cause that I hold so near and dear to my heart, and 2, run faster than last year. Some people called it dedication, others called it inspiring, while even more called it crazy. If you’re one of the latter then keep calling me crazy because I’m lacing up my running sneakers one last time for the 2020 Boston Marathon as a member of team JAF.
Over the past two years, I have had the privilege and the honor to run the Boston Marathon for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. During that time, I have raised $21,921 dollars for cancer patients and their families and by doing so provided them with much needed financial support after cancer wreaked havoc on their lives. While some may ask, “isn’t that enough?” my answer is simply, “no.” I have witnessed the impact cancer can have on a family, both big and small, when my mother bravely battled it. I know all too well the stress and upheaval a cancer diagnosis can cause. I understand what it is like to lose out on holidays and to sacrifice time with friends, family, work, and even school because someone you love has cancer. I know what it is like when you have shed too many tears over your aunt, papa, or family friend who have unfortunately lost their battle to this horrible disease. So no, for me, those two years were not enough. Cancer doesn’t just stop, so neither will I.
This year, I have set out to raise $11,079 (or more) for JAF. Why such an exact amount? By raising $11,079 this marathon season, it will bring my grand total for fundraising to $33,000 in 3 years. That means with your support, I will have helped approximately 53 families affected by cancer in their time of need. I know this goal is lofty, and I will need your support and encouragement, to realize it.
I appreciate all the support you have shown me, and Team JAF over the past two years, and can’t wait to celebrate it with one last trip down Boylston street on April 20, 2020.
The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is committed to providing help, hope, and a reason to smile, for New England cancer patients and their families by contributing financial support when it is needed most.
The Joe Andruzzi Foundation (JAF) was established to serve cancer patients of all ages throughout New England who experience the hidden costs of cancer as a result of a diagnosis. Cancer-related income loss or reduction combined with rising treatment costs often leads to financial stress as families struggle to cover their everyday expenses. JAF understands that crucial living expenses are not put on hold because of a diagnosis, and our Financial Assistance Program helps alleviate financial stress through the distribution of grants and gift cards to assist with rent/mortgage payments, utilities, food, and other household expenses.