Why the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge?

This post will come in two installments. The first is the first, more “intellectual” answer.

When Mark and I first considered running Boston for charity, we gave a lot of thought to which charity to apply to. There are a LOT of really great charities to work with–hospital charities, the institution I work for, in particular has an amazing program that was at the top of our list. The American Red Cross, so vital in times of disaster, has a charity program, and even the Friends of the Public Garden, a group in support of a place close to our hearts and even closer to our home, had charity runners last year.

We decided on this particular charity, because we felt strongly about the widely applicable benefits to medicine. Yes, this is the “Dana Farber” team, however, this particular program is not in support of one hospital. 100% of all of the money raised for the marathon challenge team goes to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research. Translation- 100% of the money goes to understanding and figuring out treatments for cancer. Dana Farber runs this program, which ensures that the money is judiciously used and that recipients of funding the brightest individuals and that their projects have great potential.

For example, the Barr Program funding has included these (and many more) projects*:

  • Breast Cancer: Discovering New Treatments Explaining how drugs like Tamoxifen have improved breast cancer survival rates by 33% in significant numbers of women, leading to the possible discovery of additional treatments with even better outcomes for breast cancer patients.
  • Cancer Genetics: Enabling Meaningful Analysis of Massive Databases Identification of new methods for controlling cancer cell growth, especially in breast and prostate cancers, by allowing scientists around the world to interpret huge databases of gene expression data.
  • Chemotherapy: Determining When to Use Discovery of a new test to determine whether specific cancer cells will die from chemotherapy, enabling a better way to determine which patients will benefit from chemotherapy.
  • Drug-Resistant Cancers: New Treatments Development of new compounds, potentially the next “super drugs”, to treat some of the most resistant cancers, including lung and colon cancer.

Given that the lifetime risk of developing some form of cancer is 1 in 2 people (NOT a typo ONE in TWO people), we think that this is pretty important to everyone. Sorry for the depressing news, but the good news is that there are very smart people out there searching for answers and treatment. And we are trying to do our part by raising funds for this extremely important research. Let’s face it, they need money to keep the lights on, the reagents stocked, and the Bunsen burners burning (Yes, I know, I’m pretty sure that I did not use a Bunsen burner when I worked in a lab, but alliteration is fun).

So, in short, THANK YOU for reading and please, please, go over to http://www.runDFMC.org/2015/MarkandRachelrunBoston and donate today!

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