During last year’s Boston Marathon event for NORD, something special happened. My patient partner Rebecca, made a wonderful piece of artwork; a stained glass rose for our online silent auction. The rose was purchased by a Genzyme employee, Erin, because of the significance of the piece. Erin’s granddaughter, Lily, was born the previous September and sadly was diagnosed with Pompe disease at birth; the same disease that has plagued Rebecca all her life.
Over the last two years, Rebecca has taught me about the importance of ‘connecting’ and how we can together make a significant difference in the lives of others. When she learned of Lily, she wrote “who would know that working extra hours on the window after work each day to make it possible to arrive in boston with the rose, would bloom into a heart connection that is so profound to us all… i knew with all my heart i was on a mission. little did i know that that honoring, of genzyme, phil and the marathon runners, of life and hope… would come full circle by way of erin’s love and bless me to my very core!”
In the spirit of ‘full circle’, I met Erin on her very first day at Genzyme as I gave the site introduction presentation during her Genzyme orientation. After the auction, I arranged to get the window, which is now named ‘Lily’s Rose’, to Erin and we talked for a while in my office about Lily and how difficult it was for her parents and grandparents with the uncertainty of Lily’s future. During this meeting, I mentioned to Erin that I was one of 150 lucky U.S. lottery winners enabling me to compete in the 2011 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii on Oct. 8. An Ironman is a 140.6 mile triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, followed by a 112 mile bike, and finally a 26.2 mile marathon. Shortly thereafter, she brought Lily into Allston and we met in my office. She is an amazing little girl, and I decided immediately to compete in the Ironman on Lily’s behalf to help raise money and awareness for the United Pompe Foundation.
On June 25 however, I was in a serious bicycle accident during a training ride that put significant doubt in whether I would be able to compete. I was riding on wet pavement when I approached a metal crated bridge. My rear tire came out from under me and I crashed down on my head, shattering my helmet and rendering me unconscious for a short time. My recovery took about five weeks. Fortunately, Ironman extended my registration time as I determined whether I would be able to compete. On August 16, I made the decision to compete but still had a lot of uncertainty of whether I would be able to make the 140.6 mile distance.
Persevering through this injury was challenging, but nothing compared to what patients with rare diseases have to endure when competing daily in life. Throughout my recovery, I hoped that I would get to the point where I could confidently deliver on my promise to Lily and family and at this point, I am ready to execute the plan.
While time is short, I am organizing a raffle to raise funds and awareness for the Pompe Foundation in Lily’s honor. Who doesn’t want to go to a New England Patriots home game? Win a pair of tickets to an upcoming game (See Below). A raffle ticket costs only $14.06 – signifying the miles (140.6) I’ll be completing in the Ironman for Lily – and all proceeds go directly to the United Pompe Foundation. Lily and family will draw the winning ticket on Friday, October 14, 2011. You can donate $14.06 online at www.unitedpompe.com for a chance to win or see me to purchase tickets directly.
Game Details: (DONATED BY JACOBS ENGINEERING)
New England Patriots vs New York Giants
Sunday, Nov 6, 2011 at 4:15pm, Gillette Stadium , Foxboro, MA
Section 334 Row 8
Thank you for your support,