John Connors has been a runner for more than 50 years, participating in a range of races from 5Ks in his New Hampshire community, to longer races like the historic Boston Marathon® and races up Mount Washington. His favorite of all is the 7-mile race along Cape Cod’s shoreline each summer, the ASICS Falmouth Road Race. John will be checking off his 20th Falmouth Road Race on August 20—this time with more motivation than ever before. For the first time, he will be running with Dana-Farber’s team after his own cancer experience, with the goal of raising funds with his teammates that will someday create a cancer-free future.
Pictured above: John at a local New Hampshire race with his two daughters; John running in a race; and a quilt made from John’s 19 Falmouth Road Race T-Shirts, starting from 1980.
In May 2021, John was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of kidney cancer, and has been treated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ever since. “Mine is an aggressive form of cancer,” John shares. “The care that I continue to receive is exceptional, and I’m comforted knowing that I am in the best hands possible. It’s a bit surreal for me to think that this is my 20th Falmouth Road Race, and after all these years, I’ll be running to improve cancer outcomes for others, like myself, facing cancer.”
John is doing well two years out from his initial diagnosis, a fact he credits to his oncology team, led by Wenxin (Vincent) Xu, MD; his surgeons and care team; his family; and the groundbreaking science and therapies that Dana-Farber provides. “When I was first diagnosed with RCC, I received immediate surgery to remove my left kidney, along with my renal vein, and the large tumor,” he shares. “I was on the receiving end of a newly FDA-approved therapy called pembrolizumab, available thanks to groundbreaking trials at Dana-Farber, and received infusion treatments for a full year. I will continue to receive periodic MRIs and CT scans to continually monitor my condition, with the intention of catching any sign of recurrence early on. I am a living example of Dana-Farber’s mission to prevent, treat, and defy cancer.”
For John, running his favorite race in support of Dana-Farber’s mission was a “no-brainer,” especially after experiencing the Institute’s compassionate care firsthand over the last two years. He encourages others to join or support the team because they are directly giving patients and their families hope and helping to provide more options for those facing aggressive cancer diagnoses. “For me, chemotherapy and radiation were not an option,” he explains. “Without the millions of dollars previously donated to benefit cancer research, my immunotherapy trial would not have been an option. I’m hoping to pay it forward to support the next patients who need these alternative treatment options while they’re being cared for at Dana-Farber.”
Support runners like John and make a donation to Dana-Farber’s Falmouth Road Race 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.