Since 2020, Colleen Stravin has been ready to take on the Boston Marathon®. She signed up for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team to run her first marathon in that year and completed her fundraising and training goals before the race was ultimately canceled due to the pandemic. On April 18, she will finally arrive at the Hopkinton start line to check the Boston Marathon off her bucket list, and is proud to run as a member of the Dana-Farber team.
Colleen’s main motivation for running with DFMC is her dad, Chuck Stravin, who has been fighting kidney cancer over the last six years. Chuck was diagnosed with stage IV renal cell carcinoma in October 2015 and has since been under the care of Toni Choueiri, MD, director of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology.
“I have witnessed firsthand the shock and rollercoaster of emotions that a cancer diagnosis can bring a family,” Colleen shares. “I was inspired to run to do my part to provide the physicians and researchers at Dana-Farber with the funding they need to find breakthroughs that could prevent a future family from experiencing the hardships that my own family has endured throughout our journey with cancer.”
To Colleen, supporting Dana-Farber’s mission to defy cancer means continuing to provide Dana-Farber with resources that will lead to new treatment options, which are critical to patients like her dad. DFMC directs 100% of funds raised to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research, widely recognized as one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind. The Claudia Adams Barr Program selects the brightest, most creative scientists and funds their most innovative ideas to propel basic research discoveries that can lead to the breakthroughs that are improving care, quality of life, and survival for patients everywhere.
“When my dad was first diagnosed in 2015, it was scary because there was only one FDA-approved protocol for kidney cancer patients like him,” Colleen recalls. “Dr. Choueiri and his team have made significant progress throughout the last six years and are continuing to find new trials and protocol options that grant families like mine hope and ultimately more time to spend with my dad.”
Colleen is grateful to her family, friends, and colleagues who have been generous and supportive as she trains and fundraises with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. “We all play a role in reaching the ultimate finish: a world without cancer. This remains true whether you are a doctor, nurse, researcher, staff member, patient, runner, or supporter,” she says. “Dana-Farber needs all of us to combine our powers for good so they can stay focused on keeping the momentum and finding cures for cancer.”
As Colleen prepares for Marathon Monday and the challenges, both mental and physical, 26.2 miles will bring, she thinks of her dad and other family members and friends who have battled cancer; their strength and determination keeps her going. She is ready to take on every mile toward Boylston Street with her dad’s motto top of mind: “Cancer started this fight; we will finish it. #StravinStrong.”
Support runners like Colleen and make a donation to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team today. Your donation will support The Dana-Farber Campaign, our ambitious, multi-year fundraising effort to prevent, treat, and defy cancer. The Dana-Farber Campaign will accelerate the Institute’s strategic priorities by supporting revolutionary science, extraordinary care, and exceptional expertise. As a community, we have the power to create a more hopeful, cancer-free future—in Boston and around the world. Together, we can defy cancer at every turn. Learn more about The Dana-Farber Campaign and how you can get involved at DefyCancer.org.