The Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk: Your Way presented by Hyundai marked its second year as a virtual event on Sunday, October 3, by raising more than $6.9 million for Dana-Farber. To keep the thousands of participants safe, the event was once again “Your Way”: instead of walking the historic Boston Marathon® course, participants each walked in a location of their choosing, such as their own neighborhood, a local park, a town walking path, or wherever worked for them.
The Jimmy Fund Walk, Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund’s signature event, has raised more than $155 million in its 33-year history, and the flexibility of the Your Way format meant even more walkers from outside the Boston area could contribute to that tremendous total. In 2021, more than 6,100 participants defied cancer by walking in 42 states and 9 countries, all for the shared goal of supporting Dana-Farber’s revolutionary science, extraordinary care, exceptional expertise, and essential opportunities.
Team Beyond CRC, led by David Thau and Brigette Arsenault, walked together in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The team walked a 5K to a local restaurant where they celebrated their success together outside. Beyond CRC team members are united around raising awareness and funds to support Dana-Farber’s Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center, which is led by Kimmie Ng, MD, MPH. The team is comprised of patients, survivors, caregivers, and medical professionals.
“The creation of the Young-Onset Colorectal Cancer Center was made possible by philanthropy and would not be where it is today without the support of events like the Jimmy Fund Walk,” said Thau. “So thank you to all of our walkers and donors!”
Thau was diagnosed with colon cancer at the age of 34 and travels to Dana-Farber from Washington, D.C., for treatment. Raising more than $127,000, Thau is the top fundraiser for the 2021 Jimmy Fund Walk.
Ellen Caliendo, co-captain of the Ovarian Cancer Brigade, celebrated her 30th year with the Jimmy Fund Walk in 2021. A friend of Caliendo’s, and her friend’s mother, both lost their battles with ovarian cancer, inspiring Caliendo to raise money and awareness for ovarian cancer research through the Jimmy Fund Walk. Caliendo says she never saw herself as a fundraiser, but knowing the impact the money has on the work of Dana-Farber has allowed her to become more confident raising funds.
“I keep reminding myself that I’m not asking for me,” says Caliendo. “I’m asking people to help save lives, and that gives me the motivation.”
Christine Carberry is another walker who got creative with her walk. Carberry, of team Purple Striders, walked back-to-back half marathons. Carberry completed her first half marathon in Durham, N.H., and the second with her co-captain, Sarah Liziewski, in Kennebunk, Maine.
Carberry walks in memory of her husband, Timothy, who passed away in 2018 from pancreatic cancer. Carberry says the Jimmy Fund Walk provided her with motivation to keep moving forward and to turn her loss into something good.
“Dana-Farber played an important role in our cancer journey, and it was the first place I looked for an event that would help me give back in memory of my husband,” Carberry said. “I have done many long-distance walks, so walking a full marathon was a perfect fit and a new challenge.”
The entire Jimmy Fund Walk community, in turn, plays an important role in The Dana-Farber Campaign, providing essential funds that accelerate the Institute’s mission to prevent, treat, and defy cancer for patients everywhere.