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Norfolk mom lacing on running shoes for cancer research

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http://www2.townonline.com/bellingham/l ... eid=473501

By Teri Borseti/ Correspondent

Friday, April 14, 2006

NORFOLK - She's been running since she was six years old, but Jane Sylvestre didn't start running for cancer until this year.

The Norfolk mother of two committed herself to run in the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, part of the Boston Marathon, next month, and has been training since last October.

"There are many reasons I want to do this," she said. "My father-in-law died of lung cancer in 1991 and then last year I read all about this little boy in Medway who lost his battle with cancer at age two. That really got to me and I just have to do something," Sylvestre said.

This year, 500 of the estimated 20,000 Marathon runners will be pounding the pavement to raise money for cancer research.

Sylvestre's enthusiasm is pretty common among her peers.

"I am always struck by how upbeat and dedicated these people are. It's just unbelievable," said Lisa McEvoy, a Dana-Farber spokesman. "Runners must raise a minimum of $2,500 in order to run for us, but most raise an average amount of $7,000."

Since she started logging miles in the fall, Sylvestre has also started raising money. In addition to tapping friends and family for flat donations, she has also garnered support from local and not-so-local businesses.

"I have dozens of sponsors. Many people suggest a $26 donation, or a dollar a mile, but Weston Associates in Boston pledged $1,000," Sylvestre said.

In addition to private and corporate donations, Sylvestre has also held several fund-raisers including hosting "open gym" time at the Gymnastics Academy of Boston in Plainville and Flipsides Gymnastics in Medway. She's raised $5,500 and, though time is running out, she still hopes to reach her goal of $6,000.

"My brother works for Random House and donated 24 Dr. Seuss books that I raffled off at Norfolk Children's School where my children go. I still have a little time left and would welcome donations of any amount," she said.

McEvoy said 100 percent of the money raised by Marathon runners will go directly to The Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research to help fund specific ideas proposed by researchers. [continue]

"There are so many researchers out there with great ideas and no funding. This money will go to people like that who work right here at Dana-Farber," McEvoy said.

Most people have donated money to cancer research at one time or another, and others have even participated in one of the many fund-raising events that take place throughout the year. McEvoy said it's making a difference.

"Last year for the first time in 70 years the number of cancer-related deaths in this country decreased," she said.

At the Sylvestre house, everyone is involved in Marathon plans.

"Running a marathon takes a family effort. My husband and mother have been great about taking care of the kids and house while I'm out running 20 miles, and my kids have made huge posters they plan to hold the day of the Marathon. When I see 'Run Jane Run,' I know they'll be rooting for me," she said.

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