For 34 years, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute supporters have come together for a day of inspiration and hope at the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai, raising lifesaving funds to defy cancer for patients everywhere. The Jimmy Fund Walk is Dana-Farber’s signature event, raising more than $160 million since its inception. Historically, thousands of walkers have gathered on the world-famous Boston Marathon® course each fall.
For the past two years, the event shifted to a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with supporters walking in their own communities. On October 2, the Jimmy Fund Walk celebrated a triumphant return to the Boston Marathon course, with more than 7,500 dedicated walkers participating in person or virtually, raising more than $8 million from generous donors. Walkers came from 44 states and 13 countries all over the world, to be part of this impactful day.
Walkers chose from four distances along the Boston Marathon course ranging from a 5K to the full 26.2-mile marathon. They were cheered on by more than 750 volunteers, who provided both logistical and moral support. For participants who preferred to remain walking in their own communities, virtual options were available. Hyundai proudly served as the presenting sponsor of the event, marking more than 20 years of unwavering philanthropic commitment, and Team Hyundai, made up of Hyundai Motor America employees and Eastern Region Hyundai Dealerships, raised an incredible $200,000. Along the course, walkers stopped to refresh at 12 refueling stations with complimentary food and water provided by other generous sponsors. All routes ended at the Copley Square Finish Line Powered by Schneider Electric, for a celebration complete with food, music, and an inspirational speaking program.
Many walkers and teams, including Team Owen’s Army, were excited to return to the Boston Marathon route this year. Owen’s Army has taken part in the Walk since 2011, walking in honor of Owen Lynch, who passed away at age 3 from rhabdomyosarcoma. The team is led by Owen’s parents, Michael and Julie Lynch, and includes Owen’s three siblings, Casey, Olivia, and Jack, and many extended family members and friends.
“The annual Walk has become a treasured date on our calendar,” said Michael and Julie. “We value the opportunity to gather with family and friends to celebrate Owen, his joyful soul, and support the exemplary institution that provided Owen with unparalleled care.”
This year marked an incredible milestone for Owen’s Army, as the team surpassed $1 million in cumulative fundraising.
“Finding a cure for the cancer that took Owen’s life, and for all cancers, is an enormous undertaking,” his parents continued. “It requires financial resources to fund innovative research for more effective treatments, and to enable care that enhances the quality of life for patients.”
For Owen’s sister Casey, the Jimmy Fund Walk is where she feels most profoundly connected to her brother. “Instead of moving away from Owen—doing things to avoid thinking about our loss—I am moving for him, doing for him.” Casey, along with siblings Olivia and Jack, walk every year in Owen’s memory.
Like Owen’s Army, the entire Jimmy Fund Walk community plays a pivotal role in accelerating Dana-Farber’s mission to prevent, treat, and defy cancer.