Patient reflects on walking her way for the Jimmy Fund

In November 2019, as a newly diagnosed breast cancer patient, I experienced firsthand how important it is to get the best possible treatment based on the most up-to-date research, coupled with compassionate care. I was so happy to get both at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and develop trusting relationships with all the members of my care team who have supported me over the past year and a half.

Throughout my entire time in treatment, I walked 2-3 miles each day, which helped dramatically with fatigue—joining the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk felt like the perfect way to express my thanks to Dana-Farber.  

Participating in the Jimmy Fund Walk was a way for my whole family to get involved together and help contribute to the development of new treatments to benefit those who are diagnosed in the future.

Getting cancer is hard, and it’s easy to feel frustrated by the lack of control. Helping to raise money for research is one way we can regain control over this dreadful disease. It also helps me bring more awareness to my specific cancer, inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). It gives a way to start conversations with people who have not heard about the disease, don’t know the signs or symptoms, and don’t understand its aggressive nature and intense treatment. Helping people understand these aspects of IBC will aid them if they are ever afflicted, and also help them empathize with others who have the disease.  

My family decided to walk 13.5 miles from our house in Lexington to Dana-Farber, as part of the Jimmy Fund Walk’s Your Way event this past year, where participants could walk at a location of their choosing. Together, we mapped out a route that included some fun and notable things—the big slides at Robbins Farm Park in Arlington, the pedestrian walkway over Route 2, an old railway bed from Fresh Pond to Watertown, through Brookline neighborhoods, and ending at Dana-Farber.

We all did pretty well until Mile 8, when the pavement was hard on our sore legs. We persevered through the pain, knowing that we were raising money for an important cause. We laugh when we look back on those moments. The funniest moment came when we arrived at the “finish line” just as the sun was setting and my daughter suddenly exclaimed, “Do we have to walk home?” My son nearly cried at the thought, while my husband and I laughed, knowing we had staged a car there earlier in the day.

We are thankful to all those family and friends who have supported us throughout the past 18 months and are appreciative of those who donated to Team IBC. It feels good to raise money for an important cause like cancer research, and we hope to make the Jimmy Fund Walk a family tradition in the years to come. We look forward to a day when treatments can be easier and will always lead to a cure for all.

-Susannah Hoch

To join Susannah and the Jimmy Fund’s efforts to defy cancer, register today for the Boston Marathon® Jimmy Fund Walk: Your Way.