My friend Diane, a firecracker of a fundraiser for lung cancer, is having to make some adjustments this year due to the pandemic. She sent out this letter to her friends and supporters and I asked her permission to reprint it. Please consider helping her in this quest! xo
Dear Friends & Family, I hope this email finds you well and safe! What a crazy time we are currently living. I don’t think any of us expected to experience a pandemic like this in our lifetimes. As I write, I am “sequestered” at our home in Maine. I’ve been in Maine for over 12 weeks. The first eight weeks I was by myself (well I did have Ziggy, our dog with me). Dean came up for weeks 8 & 9 but he had to go back to Boston on Memorial Day, as his work from home was winding down. Cole and Will joined me week 10 and are with me for the remainder of the summer. Dave continues to go to work every day as Charm Sciences is an essential business. We’re trying to figure out how best to keep me “safe” but still allow he and Dean to visit us in Maine periodically.
Like so many things in our lives right now, things are uncertain. Many activities and events that we participate in are on hold, postponed, or canceled for the time being. Our annual Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), an annual bike-a-thon across Massachusetts, benefiting lung cancer research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), is no different. Usually the first week of August, Dave & I join more than 6700 cyclists and 4000 volunteers to raise money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana Farber. This was to be Dave’s 12th PMC and my 9th. This year the PMC is being “re-imagined”, and both Dave and I are trying to figure how that is going to look for us.
Riding in large groups is not going to be an option for us this year. Dave is planning a Pan-Mass ride with some fellow teammates but is looking at perhaps a northern route rather than the typical southern one…they are still figuring out the logistics. The good news is, if the weather doesn’t look good the first weekend of August, they can choose a different weekend. I may join them for a leg or two of their ride but again will depend on what’s happening in our world at that time – for me riding in any group may not be an option.
So what will I do? I have been inspired by a story about another Stage IV lung cancer fighter, Isabella de la Houssaye, who just completed a cross country cycling trip from San Diego, CA to St Augustine, FL … that wasn’t quite enough so she added an additional leg from FL to Washington DC….all to raise awareness about lung cancer. You can read her story here: https://ridewithgps.com/journal/4698-user-spotlight-isabella-de-la-houssaye?otu= and on her website http://www.bikebreathebelieve.org. I’ve decided since there will be no actual PMC this year, I am going to do my own “virtual” cross country ride using my Peloton and road bike…3,000 miles by year end…hopefully much sooner than that!! I will keep you abreast of my progress via social media!
Our mission at LUNGSTRONG is to raise funds for innovative research so that lung cancer is a treatable disease and no longer fatal. 100% of the money that Team LUNGSTRONG raises goes towards much needed Lung Cancer Research under the direction of Dr. Pasi Janne, Director of the Lowe Center of Thoracic Research at DFCI. Dana Farber has been leading the way in lung cancer research and we know that the money that Team LUNGSTRONG raises is helping them find a cure. In the last 10 years, Team LUNGSTRONG has raised close to $3.5 Million!! Dr. Janne has used the money we raised to support a number of his junior investigators to fund development projects and “out of the box” research. To date, we’ve helped fund Dr. Oxnard’s work in circulating cancer cells, Dr. Ozers work in small cell lung cancer, and this year Dr. Cheng’s work on genetic changes in blood from immunotherapy. In addition, the money we raise is funding some of the research data specialists at DFCI that are working on the correlative science – looking at markers in tissue and blood samples. I’ve attached a letter from Dr. Janne that outlines the specific work that LUNGSTRONG has funded so you if you are interested in it, you can read the details. The bottom line is, the work that we are funding is truly making a difference in the fight against lung cancer. Our goal this year for our team of close to 90 riders, is to raise $500,000, Dave and I hope to raise $20,000 together.
Due to the current economic situation, the PMC has waived all fundraising minimums but this does not mean that the need for cancer research is less important. In fact funding cancer research is even more critical and funding lung cancer remains crucial to changing the face of this disease. We recognize that these are hard and uncertain times, if you are interested and able to support our ride you can do so by sending us a check, payable to PMC, or to donate on-line go to: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/DL0173 or http://www2.pmc.org/profile/DL0113. No donation is too small and if you are unable to donate – no worries, we appreciate all of the thoughts and prayers you send our way! Also, it doesn’t matter whose link you donate to…we share between us!!
Every day I feel incredibly blessed that I am still here and that I’m living well with Stage IV lung cancer, but this is not the norm. It’s been 2 1/2 years that I have been on this clinical trial. Currently, the standard of care, for my type of lung cancer, works on average for 19 months before becoming resistant. The clinical trial that I am on is specifically to see if this combination of drugs will give patients a longer time period before becoming resistant. This week my scans showed that my cancer continues to be stable, so this clinical trial is doing what we hoped it would. I want others to have this same opportunity.
Today only 18% of the people diagnosed with lung cancer live more than 5 years. It’s our dream that one day lung cancer will be treated as a chronic disease not a terminal one! We want to be a part of changing the stigma and to reverse the statistics!
Dana Farber is a leader in innovative lung cancer research and is working diligently to find a cure. There has been more progress in lung cancer research in the past 5 years than there has been in the last 30 years! We are blessed to live so close to Boston and to have this kind of care accessible to us. We are very excited to be part of a team that will continue to support this critical work, giving us the hope that we need.
I know that many people have been adversely affected by covid-19 and the pandemic. Know we are thinking of you and hope that you and your family are well and safe. We both feel extremely blessed for the support that our families and friends give us year after year, both emotionally and monetarily.
Many thanks for your continued love and support of our family,
Diane & David Legg
2 Main Street #735, Harrison, ME 04040
PS – Donations are tax deductible and 100% will go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. If your employer has a matching gift program, ask your Human Resource department for a form and follow the process for matches. To learn more about the PMC, visit http://www.pmc.org.
PSS – Please feel free to forward this email to you friends and family!!
Thanks for posting. I’ve been on Targeted therapy for stage IV lung cancer since March 25. My whole experience with this disease so far has been during the pandemic. It’s been a lonely road. If times were normal, my husband and I would be flying to places and joining in rides and conventions for lung cancer fundraisers. We are both cyclists at well. I just started using an e-bike that has really helped me battle riding in the Texas heat. I’m happy to know that there are ways to get involved during a time when we feel so isolated.
A great cause and project!