Four on the Fourth: Rally for Sally

Off to Dedham this morning for the Four on the Fourth: Rally for Sally. This four mile race was put on by the Thirsty Irish Runners and was a fundraiser for Dana-Farber Cancer Research. This was the first year the TIR’s put on the race and over 250 runners came out in support of raising funds to battle cancer.

The four mile course took runners through residential neighborhoods of Dedham and consisted of a pretty rolling terrain. A nice downhill finish ended the race which was great since race time temperature was 90 degrees. Plenty of water on the course with water stations available at miles 1, 2 and 3. Residents supported the race along the course and there were plenty of people cheering and a few with garden hoses spraying down the runners if so desired.

Post-race reception was amazing with food provided by Tutto Italiano and the Chuck Wagon out of Dedham. Blue Hills Brewery provided two kegs of their IPA and Wampatuck Wheat which provided many a runner with a fresh, local and refreshing post-race beer.

Finished the 4 mile race with a time of 31:23 for a pace of 7:50/miles. Felt pretty good out there, especially given the warm conditions, and I was pleased to be back under the 8:00/mile pace this race!

About Rally for Sally

The Rally for Sally is the collective work of family, friends, school and community to support Sally as she faces a very difficult childhood cancer. The Rally for Sally is not about one event; it is a multi-faceted effort that has taken on many dimensions since she has been diagnosed. Some of the efforts to the Rally for Sally have focused on immediate, direct support to Sally in the form of care-giving, gifts and prayers. Other events like blood drives and fund raisers have a broader emphasis with longer term goals of helping Sally (and other children with this disease) in the months and years ahead. Each event in its own way contributes something to help ease the burden she bears daily and every person that participates in the Rally for Sally can know that they have, in a very special way, helped give a sweet young girl the strength and courage to carry on.

Sally has a form of cancer called osteosarcoma, a bone cancer. It is also sometimes referred to as osteogenic sarcoma. Osteosarcoma afflicts only 600 children each year in the US, less than 5% of all pediatric cancers. She was diagnosed in early May 2010 two weeks after her 10th birthday. Before seeing a doctor, Sally complained of knee pain that was initially attributed simply to a banged-up knee from soccer. However, the pain persisted and Sally was taken her to her primary care pediatrician. Thankfully, her doctor did not dismiss the symptom as “growing pains” (which too often happens with this cancer) and ordered an x-ray of her knee. He immediately referred us to an orthopedic oncologist at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where she underwent a series of tests including MRI, CT scan, Bone Scan and x-ray to evaluate the extent of the cancer. A pathological review of the biopsied tumor confirmed her diagnosis as non-metastatic, high grade osteosarcoma.

The treatment plan prescribed by her medical team consists of a combination of chemotherapy and surgery. The surgery necessitated removal of a portion of her femur and the surrounding tissue. During the 8 hour operation, surgeons also performed reconstructive leg surgery using a prosthetic implant to replace the portion of her femur that was removed. After several setbacks, including permanent hearing loss as a result of the chemotherapy, Sally has completed the active phase of her treatment and is now in a monitoring period with periodic imaging and tests to look for recurrence or metastasis. While not certain, her outlook is as favorable as one could hope for given the diagnosis. Although she has missed all school since May 2010, Sally has recently returned to her classes full time and is determined to stay on track with her 5th grade classmates. Her determination also carries over in her physical therapy sessions as she continues to make progress towards walking without the use of aids or crutches. Sally has been a source of great pride and inspiration for her family and friends. She has faced this daunting childhood disease with incredible composure and grace.


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