Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Jimmy Fund Walk, here I come

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.


Susan C said...

Ronni, I also squirm at being referred to as either heroic or courageous. I have gone on record that, if cancer just so happens to take my life, the obit will NOT say that I lost a "courageous battle."

I wrote about this in more depth last year on my blog.

Susan C said...

PS I love that you think you are funnier now!

Wendy S. Harpham, MD said...

Dear Ronni,

A hero is a person who, in the opinion of others, has distinguished him or herself with brave deeds and noble qualities and is regarded as a model or ideal.

When ordinary folks face extraordinary circumstances and strive to survive as well as possible, they become heros.

I've met a lot of amazing people - heroes - over the almost-18 years of my survivorship. Most of them have not won Tours de France or written books or founded national organizations, yet they are heros to em.

I've only "met" you recently, when I was referred to your blog. But within minutes of reading about you and reading what you had to say, I included you in that group.

Thanks for sharing and encouraging others with your words.

with hope, Wendy

PJ said...

What a great honor for you!

I'm more in the susan c camp regarding heroes and cancer. Surviving a traumatic event is well, surviving. There's not too much choice involved. It's what you do with your life post-survival that matters.

Anonymous said...

This blog is great: it's humorous, it's wisdom, it's's Ronni! Publishers should be knocking at your door for this material. I want to read Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3....

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