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Charity – Communities making a difference for local hospitals

by Aine Cryts, Contributing Reporter | December 08, 2015
From the December 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

As they do every year, many of them toughed it out for the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, Mass., to Boston. Unlike the more than 30,000 runners who converge on Massachusetts every April to run in the Boston Marathon, these 9,000 walkers weren’t in pursuit of their fastest time — or a gold medal.

On Sept. 27, participants in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk laced up their walking shoes to raise money for Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which treats all forms of adult and pediatric cancers and describes itself as a leader in innovative cancer research. Raising more than $100 million during its 27-year history, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk raises the most money of any single-day walk in the nation, according to Dana-Farber.

“[The walk] energizes me to build relationships with such passionate people, who care about doing good,” said Zach Blackburn, assistant vice president of the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. “They’re walking in honor of a loved one or a colleague, or for themselves.”

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Participants don’t have to walk all 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon route to participate. They can also choose from a 13.1- mile route, a 5-mile route or a 3-mile route. The Jimmy Fund, which organizes the walk each year, traces its history to 1948 and a patient named Einar Gustafson — the original “Jimmy” — who was a 12-year-old patient of Dr. Sidney Farber, founder of Dana-Farber. During his treatment, Gustafson (who was given the name “Jimmy” to protect his identity) wanted a TV in his room at Dana-Farber so he could watch the Boston Braves, his favorite baseball team.

The original “Jimmy” was interviewed on a national radio program called “Truth or Consequences,” which was broadcast from his hospital room. At the end of the show, listeners were asked to send money so Gustafson could buy a TV. He got his TV — and listeners also sent more than $200,000, which led to the start of the Jimmy Fund.

The money raised by the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk goes in equal parts to research and patient care, according to Blackburn. The walk attracts support from New England and beyond. People around the country can donate to the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk by visiting www.jimmyfundwalk.org/give. This year’s walk was expected to raise more than $8.2 million by Oct. 31.

Raising awareness about breast reconstruction after breast cancer surgery
A lot of people think about the color pink during the month of October, which is breast cancer awareness month, said Dr. Carolyn De La Cruz, assistant professor of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and chair of Breast Reconstruction Awareness (or “BRA”) Day Pittsburgh.

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