Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners cross the finish line, on Boylston Street and virtually, raising $4.2 million for basic science.

Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners cross the finish line, on Boylston Street and virtually, raising $4.2 million for basic science.

The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team started its 26.2-mile race from all different places in 2021—some runners set off from the famous Boston Marathon® start line in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday, Oct.11, and some were virtual participants in locales of their own choosing between Oct. 8 and 10. No matter the location or the date, DFMC teammates hold one thing in common: their cancer-defying mission for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

“I am so honored and so humbled to be a part of such a generous community leading us all to be a part of the solution,” said seven-year DFMC team member Tracy Saperstein. Tracy surpassed $250,000 in lifetime fundraising in 2021, a standout accomplishment in the DFMC community.

In total, DFMC runners collectively raised more than $4.2 million to benefit the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber. The Barr Program focuses on basic science investigations that explore biology’s fundamental questions and can lead to major breakthroughs and new treatments for cancer. One hundred percent of all DFMC fundraising efforts support the Barr Program’s discovery science, a crucial strategic priority of The Dana-Farber Campaign.

Matt Bergin, who has run DFMC for an incredible 30 years, has seen firsthand how the evolution of cancer treatments has grown over the years. “My wife and I met through Dana-Farber. We have four children. Dana-Farber is a second family to me and has helped create my primary family. My dad passed away after battling pancreatic cancer,” said Matt. “However, treatments have improved so much since I started running in 1992. While there is still so much more to do, many cancers have gone from untreatable to curable in my 30 years on the DFMC team.”

David Kelly is a newer member of the team roster who has quickly made a big impact through his support of the Barr Program. “I’m so excited to be running the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber for the third straight year,” said David. “I’m lucky to be on the team because of all the wonderful teammates, volunteers, organizers and our training advisor, Jack Fultz, who make the long miles and tough hills so much easier to run. I am personally honored because of how researchers at Dana-Farber helped our family in its time of need seven years ago.”

Every DFMC runner takes off from the starting line with a story—a quest—to defy cancer, and with every step, brings Dana-Farber closer to the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.

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