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Why I PMC - Meredith Bertoni - Why We Volunteer

By: Pan-Mass Challenge

May 24, 2018 10:07:00 AM

Guest #WhyIPMC blog by 3-year volunteer Meredith Bertoni

I always wonder why such a devastating disease, like cancer, has to affect so many loved ones near and dear to our hearts. The unfortunate reality is that most likely every person knows of somebody who has faced this evil illness. However, the positive outlook on this situation is that in times of tragedy families, friends, and communities come together to empower and inspire one another like never before. True strength in fighters and grit in warriors is present when facing cancer. This is why we volunteer for the PMC.

In 2002, my father began volunteering for the PMC when my paternal grandfather lost his battle with Lung Cancer and when my maternal grandfather became a survivor of Multiple Myeloma. Years later, with thanks to his will to survive and the brilliant nurses and doctors at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, he would beat Leukemia, as well. In 2014, I wanted to begin volunteering alongside my father. It was time to give back to those who do everything in their power to save lives. This is now a weekend we look forward to every summer. This why we volunteer for the PMC.Every year at the Medfield Water Stop, the riders that come through are continually gracious and thankful for the work the volunteers are providing. In reality, we are even more grateful and blessed for the riders. Without them, the millions of dollars for cancer research would not be produced. We would not be closer by the mile without their efforts. This is why we volunteer for the PMC.

Every year at the Medfield Water Stop, the riders that come through are continually gracious and thankful for the work the volunteers are providing. In reality, we are even more grateful and blessed for the riders. Without them, the millions of dollars for cancer research would not be produced. We would not be closer by the mile without their efforts. This is why we volunteer for the PMC.

This year, the PMC means even more to my family, as we are adding another reason to volunteer. The “rock” of our family, my mother, a former Medical Technologist in the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, was diagnosed with breast cancer last fall. This caused our hearts to be shattered and our world to be turned upside down. She did not let cancer get the best of her, not even for a second. Her journey was nothing short of being inspirational. I did not want to return back to school for the spring semester of my sophomore year in college, however, her words to me were, “You will go back to school and study and swim harder for me.” And this is just what I did. With her words in my mind and her courage in my heart, I returned to Sacred Heart University, encompassed by my ever-so-supportive teammates and friends, ready to take on the new beginnings that a semester brings. My father, brother, extended family, and close friends, including PMC Medical Coordinator, BJ Tynan, were with her every step of the way as I was in Connecticut. After a double mastectomy, my mother is cancer free. This is why we volunteer for the PMC.

To be able to spend a summer day with my dad, surrounded by a vibrant community that gives hope to those battling cancer, is an opportunity I do not take for granted. Bravery and fearlessness are two common characteristics of the people involved during this special weekend. It is humbling to inspire people, whilst being inspired by them. This is why we volunteer for the PMC. 

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