marathonThe numbers of walkers, runners and spectators who gathered in support of Dana Pearson’s GIST fundraiser in Virginia was both heartwarming and astonishing. Dana, a GISTer, a wife, and mother of two boys, had an idea to ask some friends to join her for the Monument Avenue 10K, a yearly marathon event through the historic streets of Richmond.

“The Monument Avenue 10K is a huge race,” commented Dana, “so I asked my friends via Facebook and email to join me, wear an LRG t-shirt, and/or donate to the fundraiser.”

On Saturday, April 13, over 50 people joined together in support of Dana’s philanthropic enterprise. The warm spring weather and the 40,000 people in and around the 10K brought high energy and an infectious excitement. Later, in the cul-de-sac outside Dana’s home in Chesterfield, the fun continued. It was an honor to attend and to represent the LRG as a guest at this party, meeting all who had a role in making this fundraiser such a great success. Between the genuine southern hospitality and Dana’s transplanted New Jersey neighbors I felt right at home! Friends continued to arrive all evening; the turnout in support of Dana was inspiring.

After the weekend, I asked her how she came upon this idea and she replied, “I was so inspired by Maura Cesarini and the work she had done trying to help The Life Raft Group find a cure. I thought to myself, ‘I can do the same.’“

Maura had GIST and was a beloved longtime member of the LRG. She was awarded the 2012 Courage award by The Sarcoma Foundation of America for her accomplishments in patient support.

Dana’s total to date exceeds $2,300, and donations are still coming in. She has intentions of planning an event next year, with aspirations of bringing in more money for LRG research.

We are grateful for the support of the Pearson family and their friends as we continue on our mission to find a cure for GIST.