Mother-daughter duo run marathon for Dana-Farber

Jamie Tighe is in her fourth Dana-Farber Challenge Marathon (DFMC) season, continuing her personal pursuit to support Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research. This is a big year for her: In 2023 she is taking on her final Boston Marathon® with her daughter Ashley, who is running with DFMC for the first time.

Though it is her first time training and fundraising with the team, Ashley is no stranger to the DFMC community. She has watched her mom train and fundraise, has volunteered via poster making at the Pasta Party dinners, cheered on runners at water stops during weekend training runs, and helped in Hopkinton on Marathon Monday. Jamie and Ashley consider themselves lucky that they can train and fundraise with each other, while making a difference.

Jamie, pictured with DFMC training advisor and 1976 Boston Marathon® Men’s Open Division Champion, Jack Fultz.

“I thought I was done in 2014, but I knew I had one more in me when Ashley approached me to ask me to run with her,” Jamie shares. “This is such a special and unforgettable experience. My DFMC teammates are like family, and it feels so good to be pushing my body to do this one final time.”

Ashley is quickly learning about the great resources and comradery that exists within the DFMC runner community. “I have wanted to run the Boston Marathon for Dana-Farber since my mom first ran in 2011 when I was 6. I just turned 18 and I am so excited to run and fundraise for this incredible charity,” she says. When asked what she is most looking forward to about the Marathon Monday experience she notes, “I’m looking forward to all of it—the excitement of Athlete’s Village, the Wellesley Scream Tunnel, and most importantly crossing the finish line with my mom.”

Jamie and Ashley dedicate their runs to a few family friends who have faced the hardships that cancer can bring. Two major influences are Andy, a friend who was diagnosed with lung cancer at 34 as a non-smoker, and Karey, who is family friend and breast cancer patient being treated at Dana-Farber. Andy moved back to the area from California after his diagnosis to be treated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. His care team gave him the gift of time, allowing his family to enjoy a few additional months with him when the initial prognosis was as short as a few weeks.  Karey is a close friend of Jamie’s who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021. She has had two recent scans showing no evidence of metastatic disease thanks to the diligent care and treatment received from her team at Dana-Farber. “It means everything to me knowing that the money raised by DFMC runners directly supports research,” Jamie shares. “I have seen firsthand that treatments do work, as evidenced by my friend Karey, and I cannot imagine a more noble cause to raise money for. These doctors and scientists need this money to keep doing the amazing work that they do.”

Jamie, Ashley, and Sydney Tighe with a DFMC runner when volunteering on Marathon Monday in 2019.

Jamie considers her family a “cancer fighting family.” Her other daughter, Sydney, is a senior in college studying biochemistry and molecular biology. She has interned at Dana-Farber in a research lab for the past two summers and is looking forward to starting a full-time role after graduation. “The fact that Sydney is dedicating her career to research that can and will lead to cures to diseases fills me with immense pride,” Jamie says. DFMC runners like Jamie and Ashley, researchers like Sydney, and the Claudia Adams Barr Program Investigators who directly benefit from the funds raised through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, are all working together to do their part to help Dana-Farber race toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.

Support runners like Jamie and  Ashley 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