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Running for Team CRI

November 20, 2013 | Erin Kim

Every person we meet has a story and determination to find new ways to fight cancer. Team CRI marathon runners drew upon their passion to do more than raise money for research; they became valued allies in our cancer-fighting community.

Between 28 marathon runners and 5 fundraisers, Team CRI members participating in the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon on Oct. 27 and the ING NYC Marathon on Nov. 3 raised more than $76,000 for the Cancer Research Institute.

While a marathon is an accomplishment for every runner, Diane Baker had something special to celebrate. She was running her 30th marathon, and chose to do the milestone race at the same place she started – the Marine Corps Marathon. Diane is also a huge champion of working toward the cancer treatments of the future, as several people among her family and friends have been touched by cancer.

Brett Salmons, runner in the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, receives medal.

Many people dedicated their run and fundraising to the memory or in honor of a loved one. A colorful description came from Sean Burns, who raised more than $3,000 in honor of James J. Fitzgerald. Sean’s tribute to his “best pal, older brother, partner in crime, and confidant,” describes an animated and energetic man who loved to laugh. “[A]nd that’s why I am willing to endure running these d**n marathons only to watch the guy in the gorilla suit zip past me like I'm standing still. Anything we can do to help fight this disgusting disease I'm willing to do,” Sean said.

Gesine Prado, a food editor, chef, writer, and runner, began fundraising at Cancer Research Institute this year with renewed commitment to fight cancer after the death of a high-school classmate, Kea, at 42. Gesine has run in the past in memory of her mother who died of colon cancer, but this year, spurred by her anger at losing someone so young and vibrant to cancer, Gesine joined forces with her high school friend and classmate Rebecca Pettinelli to form Team Kea.

She wrote on her blog, “I run marathons in memory of my mother who was taken by cancer too young. But I was a grown woman, married, and settled into a busy life all my own when I sat on the edge of her bed while she slipped away. I’m so d**n angry about Kea, that she died of breast cancer at 42. I’m filled with rage for her young family and her friends.”

Gesine and Rebecca’s anger and determination to fight this disease was shared by many more of our marathoners. Jodi Cull-Host and Toni Erwin also joined forces to raise money in honor of Jodi’s mother and Toni’s aunt, Cheri Host. Together the two raised more than $2,700 for CRI.

Stories like these fuel every person who runs. Not everyone has a friend or family member with cancer, but everyone knows someone who does. For many the message of immunotherapy and the promise it holds in fighting cancer is a powerful reason to run.

Team CRI runner Peter Coley in the 2013 ING NYC marathon.

William Pacheco in particular believes a trial immunotherapy treatment his dad received was a major factor in his remission. He joined Team CRI to stay connected with learning about and advancing the cause of immunotherapy, so more people with different forms of cancer can benefit from the lifesaving potential of these treatments.

One of our other runners has immunotherapy in his genes. Peter B. Coley’s great aunt, Helen Coley Nauts, founded the Cancer Research Institute in 1953. Her father, and Peter’s great grandfather, Dr. William B. Coley, is considered by many to be the pioneer in cancer immunotherapy.

We thank these and other individuals who ran in support of Cancer Research Institute this year. Together, we are making progress in the quest to bring smarter, more effective treatments to all cancer patients sooner.

CL Sturg
Congrats to you all and your accomplishments, you are an inspiration to all who are supporting research for a cure
12/2/2013 9:23:16 PM

Thanks to everyone who ran and supported CRI...from a 5-year lung cancer survivor... Hugs to you all...
11/21/2013 6:31:42 PM