CANCER SUCKS! (and it touches everyone)

2/4/12, I decided to go back to my roots! I am going to swim!

8/13/11, Jimmy would have been 12 this week. I only know that because Gina's FB status was a heart wrenching plea for the heartache to stop. I feel the depth of that pain because I am a mother. I am clueless to the scope of that pain because I am clueless to what loosing at that magnitude means. I want to embrace her, hold her, make the pain stop. I think of the tattoo on my leg and the little yellow butterfly that rides above the bicycles and I am drawn into her pain even further. Gina, I know words can't help, but my heart is with you... I suddenly realize that FB may have triggered this cascade of tears as a posting about national son's week comes up on one of my cousin's status posts. CANCER SUCKS!!!! My prayers and heart is with any mother who has lost their son to this dreadful disease!!! The tears are hard to hold back!

8/8/11- the PMC

THE PMC (my experience from 2 days of this amazing stream of hope)

My latest fundraising letter:

This past weekend I joined Lance Armstrong, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Brown, the Boston Bruins, the wives of the Boston Red Sox, 7 major media personalities, over 350 cancer survivors, and 5386 other cyclists from 13-80, 37 states, and seven countries,  with just as many fascinating life stories in a 192 journey called the the Pan Mass Challenge, a bike-a-thon to raise money for the Jimmy Fund at Dana Farber in Boston. The Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. In 2010, the PMC generated 60 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and it was Dana-Farber’s single largest contributor. Over 230,000 individual contributions were made to last year’s fundraising campaign.

Cancer touches everyone. This is a statement that we hope to change with the money raised from the Pan Mass Challenge. Cancer is a complicated disease. Each case different. Team Kermit, the team I ride with, officially adopted a pedal partner named Declan. He is a child who is a survivor of AT/RT, a rare cancer that only affects about 32 children a year. The mortality rate from this type of cancer is extremely grim. DFCI had the courage to dedicate time, effort and resources despite the small number of cases. Declan, an incredibly upbeat 6 year old, is alive today because of this courage.(you can hear his dad explain their story about 32 minutes into the video) I was so moved by Declan's story and smile that it kept me pedaling for the better part of the weekend. Team Kermit rides in memory and celebration of the life of Jared Branfman, who lost his battle with to a similar type of cancer. Declan's treatments were directly related to the type of research that the Sunflowers for Life fund does at the Jimmy Fund. This Sunflowers for Life was founded by Jared's family in 2006.


                                                         (Declan and Lance) 

Cancer touches everyone! Sadly, if I challenged you to this question, most of you could not say that you did not know of anyone afflicted by this disease. This is a global statement. Cancer, is there. Many of you also know that this year has been a challenge for us. We lost our dear friend of 18 years, Hanna, a vibrant and intelligent 20 year old, to colon cancer. As I rode I carried her smile and sweetness in my heart. Hana was an inspiration. I learned more from that child than I have from most adults in my 46 years on this planet. She is very much missed. This past winter, cancer also struck our immediate family. My mom was treated for lung cancer at the Dana Farber in March. While she is not completely out of the woods, she is doing much better. Every day counts. It has been one of those roller coasters life throws at you. It was with her encouragement that I decided to take this journey. Dana Farber has become that special to us as a family.

When I signed up to ride the PMC,  I set a goal to raise 5,000 dollars. I have until October 1st to do so. To date I am just a little over a quarter of the way there, (1500.) If you donated already, a hardy THANK YOU. If you haven't please consider doing so. You can donate online, or by texting a $10 donation to 20222 - put  PMC LF0085 in the message body, or by mailing me a check made out to the PMC/Jimmy Fund. My address is 48 Entrance Way, Purdys, NY 10578. I also have a select inventory of artwork left for sale. The range in price is $25- $200. and consists of functional ware (inquire if this is more your speed). If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask. 

Thanks again! See you on the road! (as always pedaling forever upwards!)

How your PMC funds fuel the fight against cancer
Since 1980, the PMC has raised $270 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber. The majority of this impressive total is considered unrestricted support-critical, flexible funding that can be directed where and when it is needed most. As the PMC generates nearly half of the Jimmy Fund's annual revenue, every rider supports the efforts of more than 3,000 DFCI faculty and staff members as they make countless advances that have become the standard of cancer care and research.

The following provides tangible examples of how unrestricted money is propelling Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund's lifesaving mission:
•      Increasing survival rates of pediatric cancers
Overall cure rates for pediatric cancers continue to rise. Survival rates of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of leukemia in children, have improved steadily in the past 40 years-in the 1970s, five-year survival for children younger than 20 was 61 percent, and today has
 climbed to 83 percent. Furthermore, since 1988 two out of every three children who enter the Jimmy Fund Clinic are cured. 

•      Declining rates in cancer deaths
Despite the fact that the cancer mortality rate in the U.S. has risen steadily for the past 50 years, scientific advances appear to have begun to turn the tide. 1997 was the first year in the past half century in which fewer Americans died of cancer than the year before-the start of what researchers hope will be a long-term decline in cancer deaths.
•      Increasing survival rates of breast cancers
Survival rates of breast cancer have steadily increased over the past six decades-in the 1950s, five-year relative survival for localized breast cancer (cancer that has not extended to the lymph nodes or other areas) was 80 percent, and today has reached 98 percent.
•      Decreasing incidence rates colorectal cancer
The incidence rates of colorectal cancer have declined for the majority of the last two decades. In 1985 there were approximately 66 cases per 100,000 individuals and in 2004 there were approximately 48. The decrease has been the most drastic from 1998 to 2004, in part because more people are being screened for the disease, which can help detect colorectal polyps that can be removed before they evolve into cancer.
•      Declining incidence rates of lung and bronchus cancers
Incidence rates of lung and bronchus cancers in men have decreased considerably, from as many as 102 cases per 100,000 individuals in 1984 to almost 74 cases in 2004. Furthermore, the incidence rate for women is advancing toward a plateau after increasing for many years.
•      Funding promising early-stage research
In 2008, Dana-Farber was the second highest recipient of grant funding from the National Cancer Institute. Dana-Farber's generous donors enable the Institute to make a stronger case for major research grants by being able to demonstrate first, through innovative pilot studies, that its work holds great promise and is worthy of further support. All donor gifts-including those from the PMC-make a huge impact at Dana-Farber because, by funding early-stage efforts, staff and faculty can leverage donor contributions into more dollars from the government to advance research even further. In addition, the competition for private grants is on the rise, and many researchers with promising discoveries are left with few options. Unrestricted dollars help fill the gap so that investigators who are between grants can continue their work rather than having to dismantle their laboratories.
•      Purchasing powerful new equipment that drives scientific results
Dana-Farber has utilized unrestricted funds to purchase new technologies and sophisticated equipment that collects and analyzes data from large numbers of genes and proteins more rapidly and accurately.
•      Recruiting world-class junior faculty
Thanks in part to unrestricted support, Dana-Farber's adult and pediatric fellowship programs are among the most sought-after and selective in the nation. Each year, hundreds of highly qualified physicians compete for fellowships and the opportunity to train with leaders in the fields of oncology and hematology.
•      Funding investigator-led clinical trials
Investigators, such as Ian Krop, MD, PhD, of Dana-Farber's Breast Oncology Center, rely on unrestricted funds to convert research discoveries into clinical trials and bring effective new drugs to our patients as quickly as possible. Krop is working to understand better the mechanics of HER2-positive breast cancer cell so that he can develop new therapies that overcome resistance to current drugs.
•      Providing financial assistance to patients and their families in need
Dana-Farber's Office of Patient and Family Assistance provides direct financial support to more than 1,200 patients annually to help them meet expenses like rent and mortgage payments, utility bills, groceries, and transportation, including gasoline. Social workers and psychologists collaborate with resource specialists to help address financial concerns, and free financial coaching services are also offered.
•      Launching nine new integrative centers
Dana-Farber recently created nine collaborative centers to facilitate the rapid exchange of ideas between scientists working in the lab and physicians who see patients. Each center addresses a critical step along the cancer research continuum from basic discovery to drug development and clinical applications in patients, with the common goal of developing more targeted, individualized therapies.
The following centers were created:
*      Center for Cancer Genome Discovery
*      Center for Cancer Systems Biology
*      Center for Applied Cancer Science
*      Cancer Vaccine Center
*      Center for Clinical and Translational Research
*      Center for Developmental Therapeutics
*      Center for Molecular Oncologic Pathology
*      McGraw/Patterson Center for Population Sciences 
*      Perini Family Survivors' Center 


I have decided to change the name of this page so that I can post my PMC letters here. In reality, I have been promoting pediatric cancer causes for awhile and in several different ways, Beads of Courage, St. Baldricks, and the Sunflowers for Life Fund at the Jimmy Fund.

So where am I at? I need to buckle down on the fundraising. I leave for Salt Lake City in a few weeks and I know I will not have time to raise money while I am out there. SO I need to raise 4250. and I am just about at 300. I need to find 79 more people to donate 50. to this cause. This is scary. Now that I am registered, its mandatory to raise the funds whether I ride or not. I have taken a big leap of faith here. HELP? 

Watch here in a few days for the fist edition of my PMC Team Kermit letter!

PMC newsletter1

April 3, 2011:
We are getting ready for the MUD Exhibit opening reception where we will hold a bead event (checks made out to Beads of Courage). This will be a 10. suggested donation for a bead and stringing material, of course more is welcome. I will be held from 6-8 PM on Wednesday April 6th at the Carriage Barn Arts Center in New Canaan, CT.

February 2, 2011:
Its been awhile since I have updated this, but that doesn't mean that we haven't been busy. We have had beads at the following events: The US Nationals, The Masters Single Distance, The Halifax Marathon and the Charles Jewtraw. This weekend we will be in Milwaukee where athletes are competing in a number of events such as the Jr Nationals, Jr. World cup, North American Championship, and the American Cup 3. Next weekend we will be in Lake Morey for the North American Marathon. The photos below were contributed by Josh Cummings (NNY)  who happened to be in Salt Lake for the US Nationals; Thanks JOSH! We will be sending these beads and all of the notes after next weekend's events.
© all rights reserved Josh Cummings

                                                           © all rights reserved Josh Cummings

© all rights reserved Josh Cummings

Our main fundraiser will take place in April, where we will have a bead raffle, though donations are always welcome.

December 31, 2010:
 I just spent the week in Lake Placid coaching, training, thinking about my own skating. I handed out a few of my beads that I intend to send on to BOC. I also mailed a few out to Andrew in Salt Lake. I hope to have pics with the beads from both the Masters Single Distance and the US Nationals soon.
I also handed one to Kelly, who is training for the Pittsburgh marathon and she will carry it throughout her training on ice and on the road before relinquishing it with a note when she is ready to.

I arrived home to a nice note from my cousin Ali who is also doing an ultra- marathon (135 miles) as part of THON. I am so excited to hear this! Ali, I will send you something soon. In the meantime, RUN Ali RUN!

December 21, 2010:
The word is out and the skaters who participated in BOC last weekend are being asked to come forward and join BOC officially as their first speedskating team. I have posted the two e-mails I received from BOC and invite all of you as well as any other speedskaters out there to join Chris and I on this endeavor.
Here are the notes:

Dear Lisa,

WOW!  It is so wonderful to hear from you!  I personally am so touched by the sincere interest and support received since our CBS morning segment aired. 

Your group would be the FIRST Team of Speed Skaters to join Team Beads of Courage!!  Thank you!! 

We would love to get your Team of Speed Skaters on our Team page on our website now.  Can you send me the following:

·         Team Name and location
·         Total number of team members
·         Photo of some of the team members?
·         **what do you all wear?  We are wondering if we can somehow include our Team BOC logo somewhere for program identity and connection to our kids when you race?

We do request a donation as we developed Team Beads of Courage as one way to financially support the mission of our organization (all donations help pay for the core Beads of Courage Program beads), and cover costs of the Team Beads and materials. 

However, we also do not want this to discourage the participation of your Team.  What I would like to do is to create a NEW Team Beads of Courage Team – Speed Skating!!  I am certain other speed skaters in the world will find out about your involvement and get involved! 

What we can do is list your Team name as a drop down option under “Supporting Team Member.”  That way, as each member of the team speaks of their involvement with Beads of Courage and directly serving as a source of encouragement for a child coping with cancer and other serious illness they might consider making a donation on your behalf ($25 donation).  With each new donation, we will send more beads for your Team members to Carry for a Child in treatment. 

Thank you again and we look forward to working with our FIRST Speed Skating Team! And…thank you of course for your incoming bead donation…we find VERY deserving homes for ALL donated beads.

Jean Baruch, PhD, RN
Executive Director and Founder
Beads of Courage, Inc.  (a 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization)
"Providing arts-in-medicine, supportive care programs for
children coping with serious illness"
520.331.1984 (office)
520.299.9318 (fax)

Go Team BOC Speed Skaters!!!

Lori Greenberg
Beads of Courage, Director of Development
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Lake Placid Marathon: December 18 and 19, 2010
This was a three ice marathon weekend - 10K, 25K and 40K raced by all ages and all abilities
I spent the hour before warm-up asking some of the top speedskating JR Athletes in US and a few younger up and coming athletes (including one ski jumper) from the US or Canada to help me with this Beads of Courage project. Each one of these athletes picked out a bead, wrote a note, raced a marathon or two (Chris raced both the 25K and 40 K) and took a picture with the bead they chose. Tonight Chris and I are packing up the beads and mailing them off, with a small donation to Beads of Courage. If you would like to help us out with this project, please let me know.

I would like to thank Mary-Kate, Petra, Andrew, Matt, David, Mathias, Zari, and Chris for making me proud to be a coach and teacher! You guys made me understand how important a job I have as well as renewed the tremendous faith I have in the world's youth!

Here are the pictures: