I'm honored to report that on Sunday, I'll participate in the 20th annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk.
I won't be there physically; I'm not up to walking five miles, let alone 13.1 or the whole 26.2-mile route. But my photo -- the one with the dog, on my blog's front page -- will be there as one of the mile markers. Photos of Walk Heroes, current young Jimmy Fund clinic patients, mark every mile of the walk, providing inspiration and motivation to walkers. This year, in addition to children, organizers wanted to include some adult photos since the funds raised for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute also benefit care for adult patients and research for all ages.
I guess someone saw my first-person story on the Dana-Farber website, accompanied by a photo of me and the dog. They probably thought the dog looked really cute!
Organizers expect nearly 8,000 participants to walk all or part of the marathon route. Last year, the event raised $6.4 million for Dana-Farber, and they hope to exceed that amount this year.
I just looked at a slide show of the young patients, and I would definitely call each and every one of them a hero.
When asked if they could use my photo, I was happy to help out. But I'm not comfortable calling myself a hero.
I've endured a lot and coped a lot. I've learned how to make lemonade from lemons. I've formed strong ties with people I never would have met. I think I've gotten stronger, more resilient and funnier. People teach college courses and write books about what it means to be a hero. It's debated in presidential elections. It's a deep topic. Sometimes a person is clearly heroic, such as the firefighter putting himself or herself at risk. Sometimes it's unclear what you need to do to earn the title.
I'm interested in other survivors' take on this.