Jay and I spent the last couple days in Boston to accept an award called The one hundred. It was an amazing whirlwind of a trip.
First of all, Jay travels every week for his job, so when he is home we intensely focus on family time. Having this time together was great. He always jokes that I bring him along to take pictures and hold my phone. The truth is I couldn’t do any of this without him.
When we first arrived in Boston we walked to a little deli grocery and picked out delicious items for a picnic. Sitting in the Public Garden, a young woman wearing a scarf sat down beside us with friends. I looked at Jay with a smile. I had to go give her a hug. After introducing myself I learned she had just come from her last radiation appointment and had several more rounds of chemo for Ewing Sarcoma. The look in her young eyes was so familiar to me. We talked about what it’s like to live in this alternative reality of cancer treatment in your 30s. We hugged as I encouraged her to take it one day at a time. I hope she will request a Hope Scarf. I know exactly which scarf and story to send to her. Jessica’s.
On Wednesday Jay and I started the day with a run through The Public Garden and along Charles River, dodging raindrops. We recalled some of our favorite runs: exploring Brisbane, Australia, getting lost in Seattle, trail running inAustria and our first visit to Boston when Jay ran the Boston Marathon. Thankful to be running strong together after all we’ve endured.
We stayed at a great little boutique hotel, The Nine Zero.Who treated us to champagne in our room after learning about the award we were there to receive! They also had bikes for guests to borrow. So we decided to bike to MIT for our meeting with the Broad Institute. Not every day you just bike over to Harvard for a meeting! This visit will have a blog post all it’s own. But, in a nutshell Corrie, Elana and everyone working on the MBC Project are awesome. It was unbelievable to sit down with them face to face and learn about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Project. A dynamic new initiative to gather tumor samples, DNA and medical records on metastatic breast cancer patients to speed the development of future therapies. I wanted to personally thank Corrie for her work and talk specifics about how I can help. I have already shared my DNA and I am excited to play at active role in this meaningful work. Selfless science – with the potential to transform our understanding of metastatic breast cancer… Hope.
Jay and I topped off our bike ride with a stop at Faneuil Hall for a lobster roll and chowda. I left The Broad Institute excited and encouraged, but also incredibly overwhelmed with the way we as a species are addressing cancer. We need more people who think like The Broad Institute– sharing information & working in collaboration with the end goal of helping patients. Not publishing a paper. Needless to say, Jay and I had lots to talk about over our pint at the pub.
And, as if THAT wasn’t enough – our day culminated with The one hundred Gala. Celebrating 100 everyday amazing people changing the way we experience cancer. This event, put on by Mass General Cancer Center is a celebration like none I have seen. Cancer is an ugly, awful disease. But, the one hundred brought together 100 of the most dedicated creative caregivers, researchers, advocates,philanthropists, survivors and more for a beautiful evening celebrating the power of the human spirit to shine brighter than this awful disease. I was touched to be one of the honorees. But, even more so, I was honored to have been nominated by one of our scarf recipients from New York. Esther received a Hope Scarf as a gift from her son’s Spanish teacher two years ago. This simple gift was a big inspiration to her and she has since shared her story and passed along several scarves to other women through HopeScarves. She is an Ambassador spreading Hope Scarves in her community and I am thankful to also call her a friend. We hadn’t met in person until last night at the one hundred! She drove 7 hours to join us for the gala and it wouldn’t have been the same without her. We also had the chance to connect with other people doing amazing things – such as Holly and Bree of The Magic Yarn Program in Alaska and a karate program from Southfield Michigan that helps kids find power, peace & purpose through Kids Kicking Cancer. Dr. Jill Biden opened up the evening with her personal story of cancer and her big dreams for the Moonshot project lead by her husband Vice President Joe Biden. Each of the stories shared were inspirational. Tears flowed freely. I am hopeful new partnerships will emerge for Hope Scarves through connections made at the event. We are all facing the same beast –with our own creative way of helping. The human spirit will prevail in the midst of darkness.
Everyday of this trip was amazing. I feel like it cracked open a new door of possibility for me and for Hope Scarves. I’m excited to continue our efforts to support translational, collaborative research. Those at the one hundred who got the attention of Dr. Biden or had their projects go viral on social media inspired me. I want to learn from them to see how Hope Scarves can do the same. We are knocking at the door of possibility. I’m ready to step out into the world in a big way to share my story, the hope scarves story and support research. I want to do this in every possible way I can while I am feeling strong.
Moments in life when you take a deep breathe and give thanks. That’s where I am right now. Nostalgic this experience is over so quickly. Excited to see where we go next.
Celebrate hope. Inspire action. Change how we fight cancer.