Walk idea needs volunteers to work


Raising awareness--or money--requires effort from everyone affected by carcinoid/NETs. We all have to take the lead in our local areas. An awareness walk in Boston seems a good next step.

Raising awareness–or money–requires an effort from everyone affected by carcinoid/NETs. We all have to take the lead in our local areas. An awareness walk in Boston seems a good next step.

A simple idea

Gordy Klatt had a simple idea in 1985. He was a doctor who’d seen one too many cancer deaths to sit on the sidelines. So he went to a track in Tacoma, Washington and started to run. He ran and walked for 24 hours. Friends and family supported him from the sidelines as he garnered pledges to the tune of $27,000.

…it is a puzzle we need to put together.

Somewhere in that 24 hours, the germ of the idea for Relay for Life was born: teams walking a track and raising money and awareness for the cancer cause. The American Cancer Society built a fundraising powerhouse from that idea–and arguably spawned hundreds, if not thousands, of team-based fundraising walks.

The walks we take

My friends and I participate in many walks over the course of the year. We do the local Relay, the Greater Boston Walk for Hunger, local walks for MS, Cystic Fibrosis, and scholarships, and, of course, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, the capstone of our year. This year, we tried to add the Pan Mass Challenge biking event–with limited success.

Gordy Klatt had a simple idea…

For most of those walks, we walk as Walking with Jane. But we do the Jimmy Fund Walk as the NETwalkers Alliance. That team is part of the second most successful Jimmy Fund Walk Group, #cureNETcancernow. Our bike team this year called itself the NETriders Alliance. Whether that name stays remains to be seen.

The walk we don’t have

What we don’t have is a NET cancer specific walk. Such walks–and even runs–do exist, but they are hardly as ubiquitous as walks for MS or Cystic Fibrosis, let alone Relay for Life. The closest such walk I know of is in New York. That’s a bit longer drive than I want to undertake for a 5k walk.

My friends and I participate in many walks…

The idea for a NET cancer awareness walk in Boston has kicked around the inside of my brain for a couple of years. Wednesday morning, if all goes as planned, I’ll pitch that idea to some of the people who run the Jimmy Fund Walk. I’ll seek their guidance and support for the project.

We need help

I know one of the first things they’ll ask is how many local volunteers we can get for the project. We’ll need people to help plan the route, figure out where to put support stations, and deal with local government to get permits and police. We’ll need day-of volunteers as well as people to work on the steering committee.

I know some day this spring or summer, I’m going for a walk in Boston to raise NET cancer awareness. I don’t want to plan that walk alone. And I don’t want to walk it alone. If you are in the Boston area, we need your help. Consider your markers called in.

Raising the stakes

This represents just one of many steps in putting NET cancer in the national consciousness. We need the average person to know NET cancer exists at the same level they know that brain cancer or ovarian cancer or cervical cancer exists. We need people to know it exists the same way they know MS or ALS exists.

There are many pieces to that puzzle–and this is just one of those pieces. But it is a puzzle we need to put together. Recent advances show this cancer affects many more people than we imagined just seven years ago. Without broader awareness in the general population we will never have the resources to help change the lives even of current patients.


Posted by walking with jane on November 11, 2017

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