I have good news and Great news.
The good news is that with Gretchen by my side, I completed my 20th 192-mile Pan Mass Challenge (PMC). It was beyond exhilarating to cross the finish line again, after being sidelined last year.
I must admit, this year was no easy feat. The first day was full of flash rainstorms, and the second day had brutal Cape Cod 25mph headwinds coming into Provincetown.
Now, the Great news... "Paul's Posse" has raised more than $70,000 (still very early) this year, raising the Posse's historical total to more than $2million. Unbelievable! 100% of the money goes to the the Dana Farber research team of Dr. George Demetri, my friend and fellow Posse Member, who specializes in orphan cancers like mine. In addition to George riding, we were joined by Dana-Farber physician Andy Wagner.
It has been an emotional journey for the past 10 years. As such, I want to share something that stopped me dead in my tracks (not an easy task, as you know!). Below, I've pasted a letter from my doctor, George Demetri, to members of Paul's Posse.
I encourage you to take a minute to read the letter, because while my words and George's -- by his own admission -- fail to capture the enormity of the support and generosity, his sentiments echo mine. What Paul's Posse has done for George is a reflection of love and friendship that I'm enormously grateful for, and which has pulled me through some very difficult times.
I Thrive on!
Dear Paul and Members of Paul’s Posse,
Words are completely inadequate to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone for the extraordinary support of our mission here at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute given by all the members of Paul’s Posse through the Pan Mass Challenge. Since joining together with a shared vision only 10 years ago, this team has raised more than $2 million for research to advance our understanding of GIST so that we can use this knowledge to develop new targeted therapies to help patients.
At the deepest level, this is a testimony to the warmth and respect that we all feel for Paul, and our research team and I are inspired to work harder every day to make the very best use of these important funds. In these challenging economic times, we make sure that every dollar for research goes as far as it can towards finding new breakthroughs and offering patients effective new treatment options as quickly as possible, as if our own lives depend on this (since other lives do depend on this). We are so happy to tell you that these funds are enabling our team to make some of the most rapid translations of laboratory discoveries into clinical application. In collaboration with colleagues across the world, our team has been privileged to be at the cutting edge of some of the most innovative new drug development projects in GIST and other cancers.
We simply could never accomplish all that we do in our research without the "grass roots” support of Paul’s Posse, the PMC, and the generosity of all the individual donors who have made this possible. The Posse has a remarkable spirit, and that spirit has been transformed into the support that powers our research and care mission here at Dana-Farber, and one in which we are working in collaboration with experts around the world to reduce the burden of GIST and other cancers for patients everywhere.
I hope we can all celebrate together again next year, and I certainly hope to share with everyone more results from our very promising work in this field.
POSSE UP, and thanks again to everyone for keeping the spirit thriving!
George D. Demetri, MD