“Never underestimate your ability to make someone else’s life better, even if you never know it.” –Greg Louganis
I am back at it! - Proudly running the 2020 Boston Marathon as part of the Fighting Kids’ Cancer… One Step at a Time marathon team at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Center in honor of Gary Letourneau.
While training for the Boston Marathon for the MGHfC team in 2018, I experienced the powerful spirit of this department - the same kind of spirit that Gary exuded in his own life as he battled his 17 year fight with cancer at the MGHfC Pediatric Hematology Oncology Center. Despite his struggles, his legacy is laced with inspiring lessons such as perseverance, loving, living life, and not taking anything in life for granted. Those are the lessons that motivate me as I run each mile in Gary's honor on my way to crossing that Boylston finish line in April. I have taken his inspiration into my own renewed life of joy despite the struggles that life's journey has presented.
I came to the 2018 training season during the hardest season of my life and found incredible inspiration and support from training and running with the MGHfC team. In 2015, I awoke to deep generational trauma that developed, in part, from my mother losing her mother to cancer when she was twelve years old followed by my mother's own struggle with cancer when I was twelve years old. My family did not recieve the type of psychological support MGHfC offers to its patients and surrounding families. Spending a training season learning about and being interconnected to the MGHfC community, attitude, and empathy-based fighting spirit infused me with what I needed to see me through my own recovery process. I will forever be grateful to MGHfC for surrounding me during my own difficult journey. Today I am stronger than I have ever been in my life- surviving, thriving, and grateful for an opportunity to reach back and give to others. I remain dedicated to helping children who are fighting cancer and their family members receive the kind of holistic healing offered by MGHfC, as I so firmly believe in the department's dedication to surrounding people with empathetic psychological care during life's hardest struggles.
During my own recovery process, I have very personally learned the dangers of carrying unaddressed trauma in the body. I have also learned that many of America’s insurance companies barely cover the cost of quality mental healthcare, if at all. Fighting cancer is a traumatic experience, one that the children at the MGH Pediatric Hematology and Oncology program are currently and bravely facing. MGHfC offers multidisciplinary, comprehensive, and family centered care to children with all types of cancer in a program named Kaleidoscope. This care includes tremendous psychological services for the children AND their families. The program is packed with a wide variety of therapy modalities including: art, music, massage, knitting, psychotherapy, support groups, environmental arts, yoga, acupuncture, and more. These offerings give the kids a chance to play, release, process, and cope with the difficulties they are facing and give them a fighting chance to grow into strong, mentally healthy adults who can live into their full selves.
Insurance does not cover the cost of this program. It is funded solely by philanthropy! Boston Marathon fundraising dollars support the department’s efforts throughout the entire year including the MGHfC department’s research, development, and, yes, the psychological services available to these amazing children because of your donations.
Let’s do this together for the kids you may never know but will always know you helped save.
NOTE: If your company matches donations, please consider doubling your efforts (MGH Tax ID#: 04-1564655)
A message about MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL:
Since 1998, with the partnership of John Hancock, the Mass General Marathon Team Fighting Kids’ Cancer, One Step at a Time has raised over $13 million to support the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). Funds raised are directed to cancer care, research, and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the hospital’s youngest cancer patients. Thanks in large part to the philanthropic dollars raised by this Marathon Team, MGHfC is advancing cutting-edge research, increasing the number of clinical studies to improve cure rates, and providing the best treatment possible to pediatric cancer patients. MGHfC is also focused on the quality of life of its young patients and their families through the child life program, which utilizes therapeutic play - music and art therapy to help pediatric cancer patients and their families cope emotionally and developmentally with their illnesses. This year, more patients than ever before utilized Child-Life services, which indicates the growing popularity of the programming, the recognition of its importance, and the program’s ability to continue to expand its offerings. We are grateful for the hard work of all of our runners and the dedication of their family and friends, as they embark on fundraising and training for the historic 26.2 mile race.
Thanks in large part to the philanthropic dollars raised by this Marathon Team, MGHfC is advancing cutting-edge research, increasing the number of clinical studies to improve cure rates, and providing the best treatment possible to pediatric cancer patients.