Do me a favor, please. Close your eyes and think of cancer. Think of how it changed your life. Perhaps you battled your own diagnosis. Perhaps it was a friend, family member, or co-worker who was diagnosed. When I close my eyes, I see my life how it was before I lost two friends and my grandfather to cancer, how it was after my mother and my best friend beat breast cancer. A cancer diagnosis is a watershed moment for everyone in the patient’s life.
This is why I choose to donate my time to The Jimmy Fund, an organization helping to fight cancer. All Boston Financial associates receive one volunteer day. Associates have the opportunity to use this volunteer day to give back to an organization that they are passionate about or that they feel connected to. To me, that organization is The Jimmy Fund.
The Jimmy Fund Mission:
The Jimmy Fund solely supports the fight against cancer at Dana-Farber. Since its founding in 1948, the Jimmy Fund has raised millions of dollars through thousands of community efforts to help save lives and give hope to cancer patients around the world. An official charity of the Boston Red Sox, Pan-Mass Challenge, Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association, and Variety Children’s Charity of New England, the Jimmy Fund is an American favorite.
Many people who are unfamiliar with the charity ask me, “Who was Jimmy?” In 1948, a young cancer patient appeared on a radio show from his hospital room, surrounded by players from the team then known as the Boston Braves. He was called ‘Jimmy’ to protect his identity. Jimmy wanted a television so he could watch his favorite team’s games while receiving treatment. The donations that poured in to answer his plea started the Jimmy Fund and cemented a tie to Boston baseball that has been strongly supported by players from Ted Williams to David Ortiz. The full story can be found on the Jimmy Fund’s website.
I think most of us have our own Jimmy. Mine was my friend, Michelle Kennedy. Michelle fought Leukemia twice before passing short of her 21st birthday. She received exceptional care from Dana-Farber during her battle, and she and her family were also supported by the wonderful staff associated with The Jimmy Fund. Not only did they treat her Leukemia, they tried to keep up the spirits of a teenage girl going through her junior year of high school with no hair. They worked to preserve some sense of normalcy in her life, to give her a life beyond her disease. I have tried to support the Jimmy Fund and their mission ever since.
For the past 13 years, the Boston Red Sox, WEEI Radio, and New England Sports Network (NESN) have partnered with the Jimmy Fund in August for a two-day Radio Telethon at Fenway Park. I have taken advantage of my associate volunteer day to participate in the telethon for the last five years. Manning the phone lines, selling merchandise, and counting cash helps me feel like I have contributed just a bit to the resources the next Jimmy will need. More importantly, participating in such a massive effort gives me hope that a cure will be found, that we will strike out cancer for good and see the day when there are no more Jimmys.