October 8, 2021 By Carol Britton Meyer
Great friends Anne Keane and Lynn Reisman will be running in the 26.2-mile 125th Boston Marathon this coming Monday -- Anne on behalf of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Lynn to benefit Massachusetts General Hospital's Emergency Response Team.
Both causes are close to their hearts. Since Keane was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2016 at the age of 36, she has seen success from her ongoing treatments at Dana-Farber. The funds she raises will go toward research that she explained leads to "new innovations, care, therapies, and ways to improve the quality of life of cancer patients." While treatable, MBC cannot be cured.
The five-year survival rate for stage-four breast cancer is 27 percent, with a median survival rate of three years. June 2021 marked Keane's five-year milestone.
"Because of my amazing team at Dana-Farber, I am really LIVING with MBC," Keane told the Hingham Anchor. "Back in 2016, I never thought I would see my 1-1/2-year-old daughter, Ruby, go to kindergarten -- or that I would be signing up for a marathon, but here I am, lacing up and ready to go."
Reisman was a nurse in the cardiac surgical ICU at MGH, and her husband, David, leads disaster preparedness efforts for Mass General Brigham.
MGH Marathon funds support the training and resources needed to develop a hospital-wide integrated response to any emergency or disaster that might occur -- whether a pandemic, blizzard, fire, medication shortage, or other issue -- ensuring that Mass General is prepared to meet the needs of its patients.
All four of the Reisman children were born at MGH, including twins during the height of the pandemic. "I was amazed by the normalcy of the experience. The care I received was above and beyond what I'd expect even in non-pandemic times," she shared with the Hingham Anchor. "MGH has given so much this year and remains committed to providing the best care no matter what else is going on around it."
This is the first time Keane has run a marathon of any kind and the first time Reisman has run the Boston Marathon, having earlier participated in such events in Chicago, New York, in Washington, DC participating in the Marine Corps marathon, and locally in a run in Bare Cove Park.
Keane explained how she and Reisman reached the decision to run in the Boston Marathon. "This year started with a 'what if' conversation with Lynn while out running around town throughout the pandemic," she said. "Because she had run marathons before, Lynn definitely provided the spark behind the idea."
After getting the go-ahead from her oncologist, Keane thought, "No excuses now!"
For these two friends it's all about "You don't have to. You get to," Reisman said. "We don't have to get up early in the morning to run, but we feel fortunate that we are healthy and strong and get to go running together, or on our own while texting each other. My runs are always faster, harder, and longer when I'm with Anne. There's a real sense of camaraderie to [sharing this experience] together."
Celebrating her progress and giving back to "the amazing innovation in research at Dana-Farber is something I have always wanted to do on a larger scale," Keane said. "I was in the best shape I had been since I was diagnosed (thank you, Peloton!)." The time to run in the Marathon seemed perfect.
"Lynn and I are both Peloton fans, and so are our husbands," she said. "We do lifting, stretching, other cardio workouts, and yoga as part of our mix of training for the event," Keane explained.
She recalls at the time she was diagnosed having an entirely different outlook than she has now. "I'm super-healthy and able to run and play with my daughter -- relatively pain-free with minimal side effects [from the treatment and scans she undergoes regularly at Dana-Farber]," Keane said. "I'm incredibly fortunate, and grateful for everything Dana-Farber has done for me and my family."
Keane's goal of $7,500 has already been exceeded, and her new target is now $26,200 -- the highest tier of Dana-Farber fundraising and representative of the 26.2-mile marathon -- of which she had raised $20,418 as of Thursday afternoon.
Reisman committed to raising $7,500, which she had nearly reached on Thursday.
"Even though we have both almost achieved or exceeded our goals already, any additional funds raised for these phenomenal organizations -- especially during a pandemic -- will go to two great causes we both support that can only benefit many people beyond the two of us," she said.
When Reisman first met Keane when their children were enrolled in Bright Horizons preschool and early education center, Reisman was immediately impressed with her positive attitude, not realizing that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. "Anne was such an amazing mom that she inspired me to be a better one," Reisman recalled.
After Keane shared her sobering news with Reisman, she was even more impressed at how her new friend would still drop off coffee for an acquaintance or give a gift to one of the children.
"Anne was facing different challenges on a daily basis, and yet her focus was still on her family and others," Reisman recalled. "Being around her is extremely inspirational and motivating."
Keane in turn recalls the courage her friend showed when she was pregnant and separated from her husband because of the pandemic. "It was a tough situation, but Lynn has a very positive attitude herself. I think we feed off of each other."
The pandemic has brought the two families even closer together. "We recently moved down the street from Lynn and her family, which really attests to what good friends we really are!" Keane said.
For further information or to make a donation, visit:
* Lynn Reisman fundraiser link -- https://www.givengain.com/activist/371355/projects/37103/