I blog about it every September, and throughout this post, you'll see finish line pics from at least the past five walks. With honor, we do it specifically for Jackie's sister, Annie, who was diagnosed with leukemia more than a decade ago. After a successful stem cell transplant last year, Annie's kicking butt and taking names again.
So all along, Jackie and Heather have been planning, as they do every September, to walk for Annie and celebrate her life and courage.
This year, there's been a new wrinkle added to the walk.
In August, Jackie, the love of me life, had part of her thyroid removed. A few weeks later, her doctor told her the removed piece had some cancer cells in it. So on Wednesday of this week, she had the other half removed. She's doing remarkably well, and not surprisingly, has undergone the entire procedure with her trademark smile.
Below is a letter that's going out to Jack's friends and family, posted in its entirety. At the end, there's a pair of links that you can click on to donate to either Jackie or Heather's fund-raising efforts to kick cancer's ass. Regardless of who actually gets to log the miles this week, we'll all be out there in one form or another, and we appreciate your support.
For me, personally, it's never been more important.
Sunday, September 21 is the annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, a fund-raiser that Jackie and Heather take part in every year, trekking the 13.1 miles from Wellesley to the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Boston. For nearly 10 years, Jackie has been taking part in the walk in honor of her sister Annie, who has successfully been battling and conquering leukemia. Last year, specifically, Jack and Heather walked because Annie couldn’t, recovering as she was from a stem cell transplant that saved her life. For the better part of this year, plans have been in progress for the mother-daughter team to make yet another return to the route, winding as it does up Heartbreak Hill, complete with Heather’s outrageous walking socks.
This year, though, fate threw a new wrench into the plans, which is where I come in.
This summer, Jackie herself got some medical news that some of the readings were off on her thyroid production. She went for a biopsy, and in August, had half of her thyroid removed, a procedure that she bounced back from remarkably. A biopsy of the removed thyroid, however, revealed some cancer cells, which thankfully had not spread. But as a result of that, her doctor recommended taking the other half of her thyroid out, a procedure she underwent on Wednesday, September 10, and which she once again bounced back from with the same flying colors.
But because of the invasive procedure and the toll it can take on a person, Jackie probably won’t be able to log the 13.1 miles herself this year, despite her insistence to still carry on in her sister’s name. As a result, though, I’ve agreed to step in and try to carry the torch not just for Annie now, but also in honor of the most incredible, wonderful and greatest partner a mook like me could ever ask for – my beautiful wife. I will be logging her 13.1 miles this year, trying my best to keep up with Heather’s pace and socks, and trying – and failing – to be as upbeat, free-spirited and downright GOOD as my wife is.
As of this writing, Jackie is still planning to try to walk as much of the route as she possibly can, if not all of it. She’s certainly been training on schedule, but we also want to see how she bounces back from her second surgery, so just in case, we’ve got Plan B in place. No matter what, she’ll be out there that Sunday to walk at least SOME part of the course, truly, as much as she can handle. Knowing her, it’ll be a healthy amount.
Jackie truly hates making this fund-raising ask every year, but we know the monies raised as a result of her walking go toward a fabulous cause – obliterating this insidious disease which has affected so many people we know and love. So this year, it’s me putting the touch on everyone, asking you to support Jack’s walk even if she can’t do it herself, and to do it not just in support of everyone who benefits from the Jimmy Fund, but very specifically, Annie, and my beautiful Jack.
Your support is much appreciated, and carries a special message this year, more than ever.
This is the Jimmy Fund Walk home page:
Go to the support a walker link on the left and type in either Jackie Cook or Heather Cook to support either my wife or daughter.
Here’s the link that takes you directly there:
Thanks again to everyone.