|This is the 18th year for the Jimmy Fund Walk|
HOLYOKE Allison Guarente of Holyoke swims and dances like many girls her age. Unlike most three-year-olds, however, a tumor on her optic nerve left Allison blind in one eye.
Doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's are confident Allison is nearing the end of her battle after several chemotherapy treatments and brain surgery in
"Watching her mannerisms and demeanor, you wouldn't know she was challenged in her sight at all," says her mother, Marge LaRiviere Guarente. She keeps up with older sister, Julie, and her twin sister, Kristen, when they are
all dancing or swimming in the neighbor's pool.
On September 17, Guarente will be one of more than two dozen Jimmy Fund patients who will be featured as "Heroes" of the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk. As a Hero, Guarente's photograph will be posted on a mile marker located along the 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston. Guarente also hopes to complete a portion of the walk with parents and sisters.
The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, presented by Hyundai Motor America, is the only event other than the Boston Marathon itself that is sanctioned by the Boston Athletic Association to use the historic route. Over its 17-year history the Jimmy Fund Walk has contributed more than $40 million to support cancer research and care at Dana-Farber. This year more than 6,000 walkers are expected to participate in the event to raise more than $4.75 million for the world-renowned Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Among the walkers will be members of team FLEXcon who will walk in Allison's honor.
All participants on the Hopkinton (26.2 miles) and Wellesley (13.1 miles) routes must raise a minimum of $200 in contributions; for the three-mile Boston Walk, the requirement is $200 for walkers age 13 and older and $100 for walkers 12 and younger. Those who raise more than $750 achieve Pacesetter status. Pacesetters receive special recognition from the Jimmy Fund and are invited to a celebration at the start of the next Walk season. Participants are encouraged to form teams and walk in honor of those who have been affected by cancer.
Walkers may choose to walk the entire route from Hopkinton to Boston, walk 13.1 miles from the half-way point in Wellesley or join patients and their families in the three-mile Boston Walk from the Harvard Medical School Quad.
The Walk begins in Hopkinton at 7 a.m., in Wellesley at 11 a.m., and at the Harvard Medical School Quad at 2:15 p.m. All walkers will finish at the Copley Square finish line where they will receive a medal and be greeted with a victory party, complete with a band, speaking programs, and refreshments.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute treats both pediatric and adult cancer patients, and it is one the nation's leading cancer research centers. Registration for the 18th Annual Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund walk and financial contributions can be made online by visiting the Jimmy Fund Walk site at www.jimmyfundwalk.org or by calling (866) JFW-HERO.