On April 18, Alexis Drzewiecki and Sean Murphy from the North End in Boston, Massachusetts, will run to conquer cancer as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team in the 120th Boston Marathon®.
Drzewiecki and Murphy, along with more than 550 Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge teammates from across the United States and around the world, will run Massachusetts’ historic marathon route from Hopkinton to Boston with a goal to raise $5.4 million for cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
This year marks the 27th annual running of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. One hundred percent of the money raised by the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team funds Dana-Farber’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research. The Barr Program supports uniquely promising science research in its earliest stages, providing researchers with critical resources to test their leading-edge ideas. Findings from Barr Program research can provide the results necessary to seek additional federal funding as well as novel clinical insights.
Since its inception in 1990, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised nearly $75 million for the Barr Program. Dana-Farber Trustees J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver founded the Barr Program in 1987 to honor Mrs. Weaver’s mother, Claudia Adams Barr, who lost her battle with cancer 30 years earlier.
In 1990, Dana-Farber was among the first charity organizations to be recognized by the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A), which organizes the Boston Marathon. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team offers its members extensive fundraising support, training guidance from 1976 Boston Marathon men’s champion Jack Fultz, and team training runs, plus volunteer opportunities for non-runners. Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners who are not time-qualified for the Boston Marathon receive an invitational entry into the race.
Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners include cancer survivors and patients, and family and friends of those who have been affected by cancer. Runners of all abilities participate with the goal to help put an end to cancer. Each Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member must fulfill a basic fundraising commitment:
- Invitational runners, runners who receive their entry from Dana-Farber, have a fundraising commitment of $5,000.
- Own entry runners, runners who have joined the DFMC after obtaining their own race entry, have a fundraising commitment of $4,000.
A cornerstone of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is its Partner Program. Each year, approximately 50 current and former pediatric cancer patients of Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic are paired with DFMC runners as “Patient Partners”. For the young patients, their partnerships with Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge runners provide a unique and friendly focus outside their illnesses. Another two dozen Partner Program families are paired with runners through the “In-Memory Program” in remembrance of their children’s brave struggle with the disease. All of the children and families in the Partner Program serve as special motivation for the entire DFMC team.
The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is one of multiple ways runners can support the lifesaving mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Participants can run on the Dana-Farber team in the Boston Marathon, the B.A.A. 5K, the Falmouth Road Race, and the B.A.A Half Marathon, or run in any race, of any distance, in any city, while raising funds for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund. For more information visitRunDanaFarber.org.