Wrentham residents will participate in the Sunday, Sept. 9 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. An expected 9,000 people will partake in the one-day fundraising event with the goal of raising more than $7.5 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Many have personal stories about why they walk and raise money.
Cristina Cataldo, of Wrentham, is one of these people.
On May 28, Wrentham's Cristina Cataldo had the scare of her life when her father suffered a seizure. Consequently, he was immediately brought to a local hospital where doctors found a mass that required urgent attention. Shortly after, her father was admitted to a larger hospital for five days.
During this time, doctors could not decide if the mass was an infection or a tumor. However, the one thing doctors agreed upon was that the mass was inoperable.
Luckily, Cataldo with the support of her family refused to accept this answer and transferred her father to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. June 13, her father underwent nearly five hours of neurosurgery that completely removed his tumor without complications. T
he catch, her father had to go through the surgery when he was awake in order to ensure that his speech would not be compromised, allowing him to speak throughout the entire procedure.
Now, Friday the 13th is now referred to as the luckiest day in the Cataldo family’s history.
Shortly after, Cataldo’s father was diagnosed with glioma, a type of brain cancer. Consequently, he found himself back in treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation as part of a clinical trial that seems very promising to the family.
Although this has been a devastating diagnosis for Cataldo, she is grateful to have the expertise and hope given to her by the doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Cataldo now refers to her father’s doctors as the “Dream Team.”
The first grandchild of the Cataldo family, Liam, is four-years-old. He nicknamed Cataldo’s father "Bubba" when he first started speaking because he could not pronounce the word grandpa. Since then, the name Bubba has stuck and all of the grandchildren call their grandfather Bubba.
This year, the Cataldo family will walk in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk under the umbrella Team Bubba as a way to support Cataldo’s father and help him to fight his cancer. Within the first 24 hours of creating the team, the family raised $1000, an amount that increases every few hours. Cataldo’s hope is to raise as much money as possible to fund the research that will eventually lead to a cure for this deadly disease.
Walkers begin in Hopkinton between 5:30-7:30 a.m.; at Babson College between 8:30-9:30 a.m.; at Boston College between 10 a.m. and noon; and from Dana-Farber at 1:30 p.m. The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk finishes at Copley Square in Boston, where walkers can celebrate completing the course and enjoy complimentary food, beverages, a speaking program, and entertainment.
All walkers must raise a minimum of $300, and walkers 12 years old and younger have a fundraising minimum of $100. Pacesetters are extraordinary fundraisers who raise $1,250 or more. Young Pacesetters are children 12 years old and younger who raise $500 or more.
To register for the 24th annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, to support a walker, or to volunteer, visit www.JimmyFundWalk.org or call (866) 531-9255. Registrants can enter the discount code BOSTON for $5 off the registration fee.
Walking from Wrentham are: Mary Kenn, Joy Thompson and Jody Najarian.