How did I end up running for DFMC and why am I still fundraising when I have my own number for Boston?
Running with the Dana Farber over the years has made me realize how much I miss my dad. I was very young when he passed away and did not fully understand the situation or how it would affect my life. Running with DFMC has helped me honor his memory and allowed me to share my dad’s story with everyone. Although I wish that research could have found a cure earlier so that my dad could still be around, fundraising for Dana Farber gives me hope that there will be a cure someday and kids will not have to worry about losing their parents to cancer.
It all started in 2004, when I came up with the great idea of applying to run for Dana Farber in memory of my dad as I ran on the Boston Marathon course. My fastest marathon to date was a 4:31:19 at the 2004 NYC Marathon and I did not think it was possible for me to qualify for Boston. As a senior in college with limited connections, I was not immediately accepted to the team. I was waitlisted, but was eventually offered a spot in January 2005. I was so excited to be running the Boston Marathon, but I was also very nervous that I would not make my fundraising minimum.
I held a bake sale at my college and reached out to as many people as I could. In the end, I met my minimum the week before the marathon and raised a total of $4,280.90! I had a blast running my first Boston Marathon and made many lifelong friends along the way. I remember having a team singlet that was too short and my waist pouch (SPIbelt was not invented yet!) chafed my lower back during the race. Back then, I did not have all the right gear. How times have changed!
I took a few years off from fundraising after 2005 as I was able to qualify for Boston and did not need a charity bib. I stayed connected with DFMC through Thursday night runs in Boston and being a guest to their pre-race pasta party in 2010 and 2011.
In 2012, I had my own bib for Boston, but applied to be on the Dana Farber team to honor my brother in law’s mother, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2011. 2012’s Boston was a very memorable year because it was 90+ degrees and everyone ran almost 20 minutes slower than their best time. I laugh when I think about how ridiculously hot it was that day and how my cousin was soaked after I hugged him because I was drenched! Despite the oven-like race conditions, I was proud to have raised $5,100.00 for cancer research. Race day was also the day I met Andrew. =)
In 2013, I did not have a qualifying time for Boston bib and re-applied to be on the Dana Farber team. They welcomed me back and I was excited to train with the team again, but this time, I would be training remotely as I had moved to NYC. I ended up driving up to Boston for 4-5 of the group runs and had some great training runs with my DFMC teammates. The weather was perfect on race day, I raised $6,082.00 for cancer research, and I ran the race of my life. I was having a great day until the unthinkable happened and the running community was forever changed.
At the beginning of the 2013 training season, I thought about taking a break from fundraising, but after race day, I thought about how I had to be a part of the team again to finish the race that we started together. I do not know how many DFMC runners did not get to finish the marathon, but it was probably over 50% of the team. We were all affected by the incident no matter how close or far we were to the finish line. The fact is that we were there. And we will be there again, together, and stronger than before. So my journey continues with DFMC as I am returning to the team this year with my own bib for Boston.
Your support would mean a lot to me. We will continue to fund the doctors to find a cure because if we stop, they stop and in any race, stopping is not an option.
You can support my run here: http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/bettyyung