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May 4, 2024 12 mins
For more than 35 years, supporters of the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have walked each year along the Boston Marathon Course from Hopkinton to Boston, raising money and spirits to find a cure for cancer. This year's course will look a little bit different, but that doesn't mean the mission will be any different this time around. Jimmy Fund Vice President Suzanne Fountain stops by the show to talk about this change to the course, how the fundraising makes a difference, and what you need to know if you want to take part in this year's Walk.
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Episode Transcript

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From WBZ News Radio in Boston.This is New England Weekend. Each week
we come together, we talk aboutall the topics important to you and the
place where you live. Great tobe back with you, of course,
as always, I'm Nicole Davis.The Jimmy Fund Walk that runs from Hopkinson
to Boston is far more than justa fundraiser every year. It's a critical
lifeline to fund groundbreaking research at theDana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Now,

each and every year since nineteen eightynine, people have walked along the
course, following the footsteps of BostonMarathon runners, all to show solidarity and
support for those diagnosed with and lostto cancer. This year's event, coming
up in the fall, is goingto look a little bit different for good
reason, but the goal remains thesame and they need your help to make
this happen. Suzanne Fountain, thevice president of the Jimmy Fund, here

on the show, we're going totalk all about this. Really appreciate your
time, Suzanne, and for peoplewho might not be familiar with the Jimmy
Fund, let's start by getting abit more information about the Fund and the
work you've been doing. I thinkof us as the grassroots fundraising arm of
Data Farber Cancer Institute. So allthe money raised under the banner that Jimmy
Fund goes directly to cancer research andcare at Data Farber Cancer Institute. And

we do the walk as you know, every year, we do golf tournaments,
scuper bowl, almost any kind ofevent you can imagine. When I
say Lee, it's the whole NewEngland community. We have hundreds and thousands
of volunteers that go out and raisemoney on our behalfs which is amazing.
Yeah, and the work that youdo with the money, the research is

really just leading i'd say the chargewhen it comes to trying to defeat cancer.
Yeah. I mean, we're literallyone of the world's leading centers for
cancer research and treatment and we doa nice balance of both so you're getting
the latest research right at the institutewhen you come. So we're very proud
of what we do. But wecouldn't do it again about the support of
all our participants and volunteers. Andit really takes the village and we have

an amazing group of supporters as youwell know. Absolutely, and you know
we're here today to talk about thewalk which has been going on for many
years at this point. And whatI love about the walk is that it
goes right along the Boston Marathon route, which is iconic and we all know
it starts in Hopkinson makes its wayto Copley Square. But this year there's
a few changes coming, namely whenit comes to the finish line. So

what's happening here? So they're stilldoing construction at Copley Square, and last
year we were able to finish atFenway, which was really cool, and
this year, with the games andthe way our walk is, it doesn't
Timy just doesn't work out. Sowe are delighted to be going right to
the Boston Common, which, asyou know, is kind of the heart
of the city, and just alittle bit further about not much and there's

tons of space there as you know, and I think it'll be a great
layout rous this year. So doyou think that this is going to impact
where you start the walk? Areyou going to have to move things a
little bit or is it just goingto be extending the end a little bit
more. We're just going to extendthe end a little tiny bit more,
Okay, will be still on thaticonic route, will actually go best I

believe bi Coplay Square and then youjust go a couple of blocks more and
you're in the common. You movedanother one of the starting points over to
Dana Farber over there in Longwood.Correct, Yes, well, actually we've
been in Longwood for quite a while. We have a three mile walk where
our patients and families who might notbe able to do five or you know,
the half marathon or the full marathon, or if their family members are

doing it, they'll meet them atthe Student and walk in the three miles.
So we've been doing that for awhile. It's very powerful and sometimes
we'll have the kids on the bridge, the bridges the Smith Building with the
Data Building and the Achey Building kindof all in Twina, and they'll be
waving to everybody and wishing them agood luck and hold up signs as they
kick off all the walkers from DanaFarber. What a powerful reminder of why

you're doing it. You know,it might be a hot day or something,
and I've walked the course when thesun was beating down You're like,
oh, this is awful. Bydoing this again, but then like to
be able to look up and seethose smiling faces of those beautiful children.
I mean that you don't need anyother reminder than that, and that gives
them a sense of belonging and beinga part of the walk. And as

you said, hot days. Iremember two years ago Saturday night, we
were sitting there with our organizing commedianssaying, what are we going to do?
It's going to be horrific. Wins, you know, turned on a
dime and made all the adjustments thatwe needed to do and it was cold,
that people dressed and they were fine. So you can get just about
any kind of weathers with any eventthat you do, especially here in New
England. What is it, youknow, wait ten minutes and something else

will change, A snowstorm will showup in July. Whatever I do,
I don't know around here. Sowe talked about the three mile walk.
Let's kind of run down exactly thedifferent lengths that people can choose, because
not everybody can do twenty six,but not everybody wants to do just three
either, So what are the optionshere? So you can start in Hopkinton
and that's the full marathon. Wethen have a half marathon, a five

mile, and then the three mile, so you could really pick kind of
pick and choose whatever. You know, it's not the amount of miles you
do, it's you know, beingwith your friends, it's being with family
and really picking the route that worksfor you. And there is of course
a virtual option as well, whichI'm sure got really popular during the pandemic.

It did, and we tried foryears to have some type of a
virtual option, and it just unlessyou were at a wedding or you had
something going on that weekend where you'retraveling and you couldn't be there. Some
people would work for walk virtually,and when COVID came, we really were
able to concentrate on our systems toget people everything they needed to get them

registered virtually, and people didn't missa beak through COVID. They walked,
They walked in their neighborhoods. Andthen as we came out of COVID,
we found that I'd say probably seventyfive percent of our people really wanted to
get back on the course, whichis great, and there are still about
twenty five percent of our walkers thatlove the virtual walk. They may not
be at a point in their treatmentwhere they can be in a large crowd,

they may want to walk with familiesacross the country, so they can
all walk in different groups. Theycan walk out of the country anywhere they
want with this virtual option. Sofor me, that was a silver lining
that came out of COVID and thenit has kept going since then well and
seeing all the different places where peoplecan go and walk because I love the
social media aspect of this. Youalmost get to go along with them as

they go on these virtual walks themountains and the lakes and the beaches.
It gets super creative. They're fabulousand people, as I said, they
really enjoy it. There's a groupthat it's just made for now that we
have everything in place for you toregister and you get all the same t
shirts and gear that we give youas you raise money. It's perfect.
Some years they'll ought to come intotown and other years, as I said,

they don't. Let's talk about thefundraising commitment here, because there are
different commitments depending on if you're comingto the course or if you are choosing
to work a walk virtually. Sotell us about what those entail when you
come on the courses three one hundredand thirty five dollars and that includes your
thirty five dollars registration fee and thenif you're walking virtually it's one hundred dollars.

Okay, So yeah, so youdo still have to raise a bit
commitment, yeah, a little bitmore, but not not the most.
And you do get, like yousaid, t shirts and hats. I
mean, you've got all sorts ofswag. Yeah. And as you reach
the different fund raising levels, whetheryou're walking virtual or on the course,
you're able to get everything that youknow any whether you work walk virtually or

you walk actually on the course.And I know you have the pace setters
too. That's a certain level thatyou can reach where actually you then get
that special status of a pace setter, right, and that's it. When
you reach the five fifteen hundred dollarsmark, you become a pace setter,
and then it goes up from there. There are different levels, whether your
pace or one pacer I think calledtwo and so on, different levels.

And you don't have to be justan individual. I mean, obviously you've
got teams of people who walk,but it doesn't just have to be you
and some friends. You can getyour coworkers involved, you can get a
volunteer group involved. It could reallybe anybody. We have every GM you
can imagine whether they're walking with aloved one and honor of a loved one.
As you said, companies get together, friends get together. I found

out one day that my dentist actuallywalked, and I had no idea.
They walked for someone in her familyand then someone that was in her daughter's
class. And I actually saw herat the walk and almost didn't recognize it
because it was so out of contextand I didn't realize until she was walking.
So the people every walk of life, no pun intended, can do
this, and there's because we havethe different routes. You don't have to

train, you know, unless you'rewalking like you have to train for a
marathon. You can easily train fora walk no matter what distance you want
to do. That's true. Idon't know if I could do the marathon
one of these days. Maybe I'dlike to, but I am certainly not
in marathon shape at this point.But it's good because now I know I
can just start at the five kor the three K and I won't,

you know, find myself collapsed onthe side of the room and Wellesley it
works out. I did it once. They say it's harder to walk than
it is to run, because weall complete it in a lot quicker time.
When you run, you're not onyour feet as much. But it's
doable. But I did train.I'm not gonna say that I didn't.
But now I don't walk the fullmarathon. I usually do the five or

the three. I would venture thatyou've done it once and that's enough.
I think you major your major parkon the Sunday, maybe when I have
more time to train. But exactly, we'll see if people want to get
involved, if they want to signup. I mean, the walk is
in October. It's on October six, but you know, it might just
be May at this point. Butthat's not too early to sign up and
get fundraising and get going. I'massuming it is not. As a matter

of fact, we have quite afew people registered. And if you go
on and visit www. Jimmy FunWalk dot org and you enter the promo
code news any WS, you getfive dollars off your registration fee right now.
Oh perfect, okay, and thenyou can choose to do the again
right there on the website. Youcan choose your you can choose your swag,

you can put together your team.It's everything in one spot, which
is really everything in one spot,And there's also a calling number if you
want to talk to somebody if youneed more information or other questions that aren't
answered on the website. Would welcomeyou to pick up the phone and call
us. Okay, and then Iguess my last question for you, what
advice would you have for people whomight want to be doing this for the

first time. Wow, lots ofadvice. I think the best advice I
got, and this sounds when theytold me to do it, I'm like,
oh, you're kidding me, isto put vasoline or something on your
feet and make sure you have agood pair of shoes and a good pair
of socks, and to walk inthem before walk day, you know,
so make sure you're not going toget the blisters, and then train.

You know. It's you can doit without training, depending on the miles,
but it's fun to be able totrain and to go out with your
group that you walk with or challengeyourself to do x amount of miles,
you know, every day, andit's just a really good way to train
and get exercise as you will,you know, work up to being in
the walk. I did not knowthat about the vasoline. Does that really

hot? It's vaciline or there's alot of different things you can put on
their creams, so you can puton now. But it prevents blisters.
It did help. When I wentto do it, I'm like, oh,
I'm not sure about this, butI had no blisters and I walked
twenty six miles. Well, then, talks and equipment are important, and
that we've come a long way.We're our thirty six year now, yeah,
and so we know, you know, we have a lot better equipment.

Shoes are different than they were.We had somebody believe it was the
mayor of Quinsy and one of ourearly years literally walked the walk in loafers
and I can't remember the reason why, but that is not something I would
recommend. No, you need supportthat poor poor person. Oh my goodness.
All right, well, Suzanne Fountain, I mean, this is great

news, great information, and we'llhave to have some fun on the Common
this year instead of Copley Square,but I'm looking forward to it and all
the best for this year's walk.Well again, thank you so much for
all you continue to do, andI hope to see you at the you
got it. Have a safe andhealthy weekend. Please join me again next
week for another edition of the show. I'm Nicole Davis from WBZ News Radio on iHeartRadio
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