Nashua resident races against cancer

Courtesy photo Nashua resident Cherie Hendrickson waves during the 2018 Boston Marathon.

NASHUA – City resident Cherie Hendrickson will be joining a string of runners from the city and taking the streets of Boston in April for the 123rd Boston Marathon.

Hendrickson will also be one of three Nashua residents who are part of the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Team. The team has been in existence since 1990. In 1989, the Dana-Farber website notes, Michael Silverstein ran the Boston Marathon in memory of his friend Seth Feldman and raised more than $35,000 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

After this, Dana-Farber Institute Trustees Delores Barr Weaver and her husband, Wayne, offered a “challenge grant” to Dana-Farber to organize a team that would raise funds for the Claudia Barr Program, a program that supports a variety of research areas in blood, brain, breast, lung, pancreatic and pediatric cancer and cancer biology, cancer genetics, immunotherapy and precision medicine.

In 1990, a team of 19 ran the Boston Marathon. Now, there are more than 500 runners. Since 1990, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge has raised more than $90 million,“resulting in improved survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients everywhere,” as stated on the institute’s website.

The institute’s website also states, “The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge, in collaboration with the Boston Athletic Association, offers the exciting opportunity to run the Boston Marathon while raising critical funds to benefit the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.”

This year, the team’s goal is $6 million. The team consists primarily of runners who have cancer, are cancer survivors or are running for someone they know who has been affected by the disease.

Each team member receives a number benefits from joining outside of running for a good cause. These include a guaranteed race entry, weekly training run, access to a training program designed by 1976 Boston Marathon Men’s Open Division Champion Jack Fultz and Dana Farber apparel and fundraising tips.

This year marks Hendrickson’s 10th year with the team. Hendrickson said she had joined originally because two of her aunts were treated for breast cancer at Dana-Farber. A friend of hers had also run, so Hendrickson decided join the team and fundraise. What Hendrickson thought would be a one-and-done type of a deal turned into 10 more, with thousands of dollars raised for cancer research and treatment.

“I chose to do this because it was something out of my comfort zone. I found it was something I really enjoyed, much to my own surprise,” Hendrickson said. That Boston Marathon she decided to run was her very first marathon.

Since then, she’s also run two other marathons outside of her marathons in Boston, and has attended marathon events in New York and Chicago. The minimum amount of money team members are asked to raise is $5,000, Hendrickson said.

For the last two years, she has set goal of raising over $8,000. This year, she’s bumping it up to $9,000. Hendrickson will continue raising her funds into April.