Seventeen Wellesley residents are slated to participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk on Sunday, Oct. 1. The annual event annual event raises funds to support all forms of adult and pediatric care and cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Among Wellesley residents making the big trek along the marathon course: Meredith and Mark Lepper, Reina Mercado, Elizabeth Rosen, Tina Wang, Joan Hanania, Karen Granoff, Stephen Clarke, Zach Galvin, Liza Near, William Near, and Elizabeth Buchbinder.
The Leppers began doing the walk in support of their son Ben, who is in his 4th year of remission from pediatric leukemia and is happily “acting like a normal 22-year-old” while attending Holy Cross, Meredith says.
The Leppers are taking part in their 5th Jimmy Fund Walk, choosing the route that starts in Wellesley and ends in Boston, in an effort to “make a difference and help other people,” Meredith says. She also now volunteers at Dana-Farber to help pass on knowledge gained during her son’s treatment and Dana-Farber’s support for her family. “People don’t know how pervasively treatment affects your life,” says Meredith (fundraising page).
As Meredith learned during Ben’s treatment, even when patients go home from the hospital, home is different, and this was especially true for the Leppers during the pandemic given their son’s immunocompromised state. The little things that Dana-Farber did, like providing art supplies to Ben’s sister when her outside exposure was limited, have stayed with the Leppers, who now marvel at how healthy Ben looks and feels.
The goal for organizers this year for the 35th edition of the event is to raise $9 million.
Participants have the flexibility to choose from four distance options: 5K walk (from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Longwood Medical Campus), 10K walk (from Newton), Half Marathon walk (from Wellesley), and Marathon walk (from Hopkinton). There’s also an option for participants to create their own route.
Check out the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk website for more on participating, volunteering, or donating.