#WhyIPMC guest blog by Anne Palmer, 7-year Living Proof volunteer
This coming August will be my seventh year of volunteering for the PMC at Mass Maritime Academy. Following treatment for my aggressive breast cancer in 2012 and 2013 I was looking for a way to give back to Dana-Farber and to express my gratitude for the incredibly compassionate and knowledgeable care I had received from the nurses and doctors. I had always heard about the PMC and was impressed with their organization and fundraising goals. My manager from work had been volunteering for a couple of years and provided me with more details. I happily signed up to work the luggage tent on Saturday morning. I also set up tents for the riders who would be staying overnight at MMA. I met so many wonderful volunteers and riders that I knew I would be volunteering the following year. In 2014 I worked on Saturday morning at MMA and the next morning before the sun rose I was at the Barnstable Courthouse making Fluffernutters for the riders. One of the most moving parts about volunteering is the exceptional gratitude the riders express to each volunteer. I get chills thinking about the gracious “thank you’s” I have received over the past six years. To me though, I am eternally grateful to those riders who have trained and sacrificed to be able to participate in the PMC and raise funds for cancer research. They are the heroes, they are the ones who are literally riding for a cure.
Cancer hit our family again when my 25 year-old son was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The tumors were on both sides of his brain. As we faced this shocking news I knew he was in good hands at Dana-Farber. His oncologist was extremely thorough in explaining the process and prognosis and how the treatment would work. It was hard to believe we were dealing with this challenge again as a family but we were confident in the care Kevin was receiving. Following six months of chemo and radiation his tumors shrunk. To this day he is active and healthy because of the amazing care he received from the clinicians and doctors at Dana-Farber.
In 2017 my breast cancer returned as metastatic- stage 4. The tumors in my bones and lungs require me to be on oral chemo and have scans every three months to check for progression. Last year as a Living Proof volunteer the goals and mission of the PMC became even more poignant as there is no cure for my cancer. I will be in treatment for the rest of my life. Fortunately I am still able to volunteer with enthusiasm and vigor thanks to the PMC and the millions of dollars they have raised we are getting closer to a cure, not just for me, but for others around the country and beyond. I am extremely fortunate to have Dana-Farber providing the best care in the world in my back yard! Therefore, for as long as I am able, I will be a fixture at the PMC luggage tent at Mass Maritime on Saturday mornings. And as an added bonus my former boss still volunteers with me every year!