I learned about the cutting-edge work being done to fight cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center after my younger brother was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1978. Treatment with a new chemo drug was just out of trials and available at MSK. Our family won its first fight with cancer.
I became a runner, quit smoking, and started to run marathons. Included in my 1991 New York City Marathon registration was information from Fred Lebow about raising pledges for running to benefit MSK research. Fred Lebow had been diagnosed and was being treated at MSK. When he saw children fighting the disease, he wanted to do something and designated MSK the first official charity partner of the New York City Marathon. I knew that using my joy of running to raise funds to fight cancer through research at MSK was a great privilege.
I became a Fred’s Team member in 1995, attending the first team training session with legendary marathoner, Grete Waitz. I cherish those meetings with Fred Lebow and Grete, but I will always remember that cancer took those amazing people from us. Personally, I have lost a brother and sister, both parents, two special running friends, as well as my best friend. With advances made possible through research, another brother and several friends have survived their fight against cancer. I cannot describe the joy I feel when I get to go for a run with some of these survivors now!
Over the last 20 years, I have experienced so many incredible moments while part of Fred’s Team—from the team’s changing uniform colors (yellow, purple, then finally, orange); growing our numbers from just a few members to thousands; from raising $400,000, to raising millions.
Fred’s Team has helped me deal with the sadness, grief, and loss in my life by giving me a way to continue the fight against cancer, and to make Fred Lebow’s wish—to imagine a world without cancer—possible.