Every year, at the end of August, the local Boston sports talk radio station and the Red Sox TV broadcast station join together for two days to raise money for cancer. It is called the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon because all proceeds go to support the Jimmy Fund at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The Jimmy Fund clinic primarily supports children battling all kinds of cancer. It becomes a safe haven for these kids. A place where the scary things they are dealing with melt away and they are allowed to feel normal, happy and strong. The nurses, doctors and staff at the clinic embrace every patient, their family and support group with unconditional love, patience and determination. They make these kids feel like a part of a community, instead of alone, angry and depressed while missing out on everything their friends are able to do.
This year's telethon raised $3,200,000 in 48 hours. How? Because they present a non-stop conversation with current patients, former patients and family members of patients who didn't survive. There are little tiny kids. Teens. College students. Grown men and women. All of them come on air to tell their personal story of cancer, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber. You cannot listen to these folks without becoming angry. Angry that cancer is still winning out so often. Angry that sweet souls are put through the wringer. Angry that it could be different if there was just more funding for research and treatment. But these folks aren't angry.
They are THANKFUL. BLESSED. Every one of them relays this. Cancer brought them to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund clinic. To people doing God's work on Earth. To friendships and memories that revitalize their lives. They MISS going to the clinic. They MISS getting to see their care providers all the time. That's how powerful a place it is. Through the most agonizing, scary and threatening times of their battle, the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber make it a positive experience.
I don't always get what I want out of my life. Sometimes that is because I am too lazy or too afraid to pursue it. Sometimes that is because things just aren't fair. And I start to feel sorry for myself. To lament. And then the Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon comes along and smacks me upside the head. I haven't had to fight for my life, or watch my child helplessly raise up his little fists to beat back cancer. Too many have. And they appreciate every second they have. The kind soldiers at the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber help them to see roses where there are mostly weeds. For these patients, the gift of life often seems like the booby prize. But the Jimmy Fund warriors do their best to hand out the shiniest bows to each and every patient coming through their doors.