May 10, 2012 GoJGo

I am running two Marathons this year. The first is a carefree jaunt across the Golden Gate Bridge and along the streets of San Francisco. The second is to save a child’s life.

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Thomas Brand. I work at Children’s Hospital Boston. I spend the majority of my time helping to maintain the Radiology image database, assisting doctors with the dictation of their reports, and answering everyday questions about Radiology workflow and procedure. Short of giving directions in the lobby, or passing children in the cafeteria I rarely interact with our patients let alone see their smiling faces. My professional world consists of medical record numbers, procedure codes, and scans that strip our patients of their personalities, looking past their smiles. I know how easy it is to lose sight of what matters when all you see is just another X-ray attached to just another medical record number.

My friend Stephen Hackett has a son who could easily have been an archived medical record number at any major children’s hospital. At six months old, baby Josiah was diagnosed with a Glioma Astrocytoma (brain cancer). He was unable to use the left side of his body. The doctors believed that he wouldn’t be able to see out of his left eye, that he wouldn’t be able to walk, and that he would lose his battle with cancer before his 3rd birthday.

Today, thanks to God’s blessing, and the dedication of the people at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Josiah is more than just a number. He is a three year old on his way to his Fourth birthday. He his chasing his Uncle around the house. He is smiling in photos taken by his father. He is being held in his mother’s arms. And he is running with his sister through the clean laundry hanging on the line. Some could say Josiah’s recovery is a miracle, but his fight for survival is a battle not yet won.

Josiah has undergone extensive treatment and care at St. Jude. He has been through brain surgery, shunt replacement, g-tube placement, port installation, 16 rounds of chemo, countless hours of physical therapy, and a truckload of medications he must take everyday for the rest of his life. As an outpatient Josiah’s bills alone have reached over $2,000,000.00. If it wasn’t for his proximity to St. Jude in Memphis Tennessee he would have spent the majority of his young life living in a hospital, and his family would owe even more for his transportation and stay.

As of today Josiah Hackett and his family don’t owe a thing. St. Jude doesn’t charge a family any more than their insurance will cover. That means that my friend Stephen has not paid a CENT in over THREE YEARS for his son’s treatment and never will! St. Jude covers not just the cost of treatment, medication, and PT, but the price of transportation to Memphis and all of the living expenses including meals. Imagine what it costs to send a hospital full of young cancer patients and their families to St. Jude for treatment, housing, food, and care. It should come at no surprise that St. Jude spends over 1.7 million dollars a day towards caring.

I am asking for your help to raise money for St. Jude, and save a child’s life. If you are like me and work at a children’s hospital you know cancer is not a number. It is a terrible disease that is robbing us of our children, and stealing away our future. Even if you don’t see the face of cancer everyday you know the smiles of children we can’t afford to let slip away. Fighting cancer is not about choosing sides, or raising money for a particular hospital. I wanted to take this chance to make a difference for my friend’s son and support St. Jude, an institution I believe in.

On previous marathons I have managed to raise over $2,500 for charitable causes. I am looking to raise over twice that for very important race. I have already donated $125 towards Josiah’s treatment, and look forward to spending the next several months training for December 1st when I can fly down to Memphis and run 26.2 miles with Josiah on my mind. In the past I have run races for myself, but this time I am doing it for a little boy with brain cancer who needs our help. Please consider giving what you can. If not for me, Stephen, Josiah, or St. Jude, then to fight a terrible disease that is stealing our future one smile at a time.