Posted by: Jack Savage | October 1, 2014

RIP Scott Gaulin

It was a privilege to run the 2014 Boston Marathon in honor of Scott Gaulin,  who battled Ocular Melanoma with remarkable grace. On Marathon day in April, while I was running, Scott was in Boston undergoing tests for yet another potential clinical trial.

But by late summer, Scott was in hospice care. He died on Tuesday, Sept. 23. His obituary can be read here:

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/fosters/obituary.aspx?pid=172581500

 

I’m convinced that his own positive attitude gave him added years. Scott’s family did absolutely everything they could to figure out a different outcome, and were incredibly generous in helping raise money for Ocular Melanoma research at Mass Eye and Ear. At his funeral, though it is too late to help Scott, his mother Sandy said to me, “Jack, we have to find a way to beat this thing.”

Yes, we do.

Posted by: Jack Savage | April 12, 2014

Ocular Melanoma Research

This letter arrived today from Dr. Evangelos S. Gragoudas at the Dept. of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. His gratitude goes to all the donors to my Boston Marathon run.

“Dear Jack:

I was excited to hear that you have joined Team Eye and Ear and that your fundraising efforts will support ocular melanoma research. We are enormously grateful for your wonderful partnership and for all of the work you are doing on our behalf.

It is personally touching and deeply gratifying to hear from people who want to help us reach our common goal of improving outcomes for patients. Your efforts will accelerate our research and will ultimately bring treatments to the people who need them faster. This progress would not be possible without the help of generous friends like you. Thank you for all that you are doing to help us succeed.

I wish you the best of luck and will be thinking of you on marathon day!

Sincerely,

Evangelos S. Gragoudas, MD”

Posted by: Jack Savage | April 7, 2014

Ten Random Observations from a Charity Runner

 

1. There are three important elements of training:

a. Talking about an upcoming training run, how hard it will be in the snow and ice and cold, and what current injury you are dealing with.

b. Running.

c. Talking about how the latest training run went, and how hard it was in the snow and ice and cold, and what new injury or strain that you must deal with.

2.  Training is a bit of work. Marathon training typically involves a 16-20 week program, with a presumption that one has some basic level of fitness at the beginning of training. For me, that will mean around 800 miles of running before the marathon even starts.

3. By the day of the 2014 Boston Marathon on April 21 I will have gone through four pairs of running shoes. My imperfect gait wears out the left shoe in particular, especially the inside of the shoe. If you know anyone who needs a dozen or so slightly worn size 10 ½ right-foot shoes, let me know.

4. It’s fun to talk about being in the Boston Marathon. Running is a lot like golf, in that the runner enjoys talking about their training and races WAY more than the non-running listener ever enjoys hearing about it. But because it’s the Boston Marathon instead of the local 5K, friends and family are particularly tolerant and willing to pretend to be interested in hearing about your hydration strategy or your favorite flavor “GU” or exactly where you plan to apply Vaseline to stave off chafing.  In fact, I think the real endurance athletes are the spouses and partners of marathon runners, who bear the brunt of endless droning on about such things.

5. You may learn about things like bleeding nipples and black toenails. (Sorry, TMI.)

6. Upbeat attitude essential. (See number 5.) The crowd’s cheering you and others along the way can be powerfully emotional.

7. You don’t have to be fast runner or elite athlete, but there are at least three critical characteristics of a successful charity marathon runner:

a. Willingness to organize your life around training for a few months.

b. Lots of supportive friends and family members who care enough about you to embrace your quest.

c. Absolute determination to reach a specific goal (such as finishing and reaching a fundraising goal).

8. It’s a unique opportunity to compete directly with the world’s best athletes. Where else does the average person get to enter the field in the exact same competition as the world’s elite? In my case, Ryan Hall doesn’t have anything to worry about this year, but when I ran in the 89-degree heat of the 2012 Boston Marathon I beat 2011 men’s winner Geoffrey Mutai. (He dropped out at mile 18, whereas I finished—albeit hours later.)

9. There are many kinds of participants—wheelchair athletes, elites, qualifying runners and charity runners. Boston is unique among major marathons in that you can’t just sign up in order to participate. You must demonstrate that you can run a “qualifying time” for your age group (and even then it can be tough to get in). If not, your other option is to be a charity runner, whereby you agree to raise money for one of the organizations that gets bib numbers for that purpose. In my case, I am running as part of Team Eye and Ear, raising money for research to combat Ocular Melanoma. To learn more, visit www.crowdrise.com/TeamEyeAndEar/fundraiser/jacksavage

10. The event is huge. Last time I ran, as I crossed the start line in Hopkinton they were already announcing the winners of the wheelchair competitors 26.2 miles away.

Posted by: Jack Savage | March 27, 2014

Middleton Moderator to Run in Honor of Scott Gaulin

Middleton Moderator to Run in Honor of Scott Gaulin

Town moderator runs Boston Marathon to support father of three fighting ocular cancer

 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
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Click image to enlarge

Middleton Town Moderator Jack Savage is returning to Team Eye and Ear this April, raising funds for cancer research. In 2012 he ran in honor of his late brother-in-law Mike Kimball. (Courtesy photo)

MIDDLETON — Town Moderator Jack Savage is headed back to the Boston Marathon this year as a member of Team Eye and Ear, raising money to fight ocular melanoma. This year he is running in support of Rochester’s Scott Gaulin, a father of three who has been fighting the cancer for more than 10 years.

“Two years ago I ran Boston in memory of my late brother-in-law, Michael Kimball,” Savage said. “Mike, himself a father of five, lost his battle. Ocular Melanoma — essentially skin cancer of the eye — is rare enough that not nearly enough research is being conducted to find ways to overcome it. In 2012 we raised over $9,000 to fund such research through Mass Eye and Ear Infirmary, where Mike was treated.”

Posted by: Jack Savage | March 21, 2014

Behind the Scenes at the Boston Marathon with Mass Eye and Ear

Discussing what it was like in the ER on the day of the marathon bombings

Discussing what it was like in the ER on the day of the marathon bombings

http://www.necn.com/03/19/14/Health-care-providers-recall-treating-Bo/landing.html?blockID=864046

Can’t say enough about Mass Eye and Ear medical professionals Maureen Martinez (RN), Deb Trocchi (RN) and Dr. Aaron Remenschneider, all of whom came to NH for a public discussion of what it was like to be in the Emergency Room following the marathon bombings last April. Watch them on NECN.

Delta Dental, NHTI, partner with Team Eye and Ear marathoner Jack Savage to bring the behind-the-scenes story to Concord

CONCORD, N.H., March 4, 2014 — The Boston Marathon – along with the lives of many who were running or watching the race –changed forever last April when two bombs detonated near the finish line. As the explosions shocked the world, bystanders, emergency responders, and medical personnel were credited with quick action that saved lives.

On Wednesday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Aaron Remenschneider and two Registered Nurses, Deb Trocchi and Maureen Martinez, who were on duty at Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary during the marathon bombings will describe what it was like in the emergency room that day, dealing with injuries that affected the senses, while the city wondered what was happening –why. Mass. Eye and Ear was one of eight hospitals that treated bombing victims – and these individuals were on the front lines of those who helped.

The talk, sponsored by Delta Dental, will be held at the auditorium in the Wellness/Student Center on the campus of New Hampshire Technical Institute (NHTI) in Concord, NH (31 College Drive) Directions can be found here http://www.nhti.edu/visit-nhti/directions-map

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Delta Dental and NHTI, the talk is free and open to the public. It is being arranged as part of the fundraising efforts of local Jack Savage, who is running the Boston Marathon this year as part of Team Eye and Ear.

Savage who ran as part of Team Eye and Ear in 2012, was near the finish last year to watch his brother, who was in the race. “I feel astoundingly lucky,” he said. “My brother finished about 20 minutes before the bombs went off, and so I was a few blocks away when it happened. Because I was fortunate I feel an obligation to give back, so I’m running as part of Team Eye and Ear this year, raising money for them as one of the eight hospitals that treated victims the bombing.” Savage works across the river from NHTI and Delta Dental at the Society for the Protection of NH Forests.
Aaron Remenschneider, M.D., is the Chief Otolaryngology Resident at Mass. Eye and Ear. Deb Trocchi, R.N., is Clinical Leader in the Emergency Department, and Maureen Martinez, R.N., is Nurse Manager, Emergency Department, Nursing Education.

The trio will describe what it was like in the emergency room, how they as medical professionals reacted, the kinds of injuries they dealt with, and what they learned from working on those injuries and the overall response to the disaster. Dr. Remenschneider also will be running the Boston Marathon this year as part of Team Eye and Ear.

Mass Eye and Ear not only treated victims the day of the bombing, but because of the institution’s specialty subsequently treated victims with shrapnel injuries to their eyes and concussive ear injuries.

Posted by: Jack Savage | July 11, 2012

Fighting Ocular Melanoma–Interesting Development

Thanks to one of the generous donors to my Run for Cancer Research for forwarding this New York Times article about a recent development in the fight against ocular melanoma. Unlike with other cancers (so far), a test has been developed that can determine a patient’s chances for survival. While such knowledge generates any number of questions (would you want to know?), the fact that such a test can isolate those with a worse prognosis could bring us closer to understanding what could change the outcome.

Here’s a link to the story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/10/health/genetic-test-changes-game-in-cancer-prognosis.html?_r=1&emc=eta1

Jack

Posted by: Jack Savage | April 21, 2012

The Best Goodbye

I heard hundreds of people yell out 'Do it for Mike' as I ran.

As I made my way to the starting line of Monday’s Boston Marathon (accompanied by 22,000-plus of my closest friends), I felt confident that I would finish despite the heat, which topped out at 89 degrees at the halfway point in Wellsley. I never seriously considered taking the Boston Athletic Association up on its offer to defer to next year.

By the time I reached “Screech Alley” (the screaming co-eds of Wellsley), I was not at all certain I would make it to the finish at Copley Square. I’d run the first seven miles at a conservative, heat-adjusted pace, then throttled back even more for miles 8 through 13. I drank at every water stop and it wasn’t enough. At one point I wasn’t even sure I’d make it to Mile 19, where Cheryl, my brother Tom and his wife Linda and her sister were waiting along with other supporters of Team Eye and Ear. Running 20-milers in sub-freezing temps doesn’t quite prepare you for temps in the 80s. So I focused on the finish and just kept moving forward. I remember turning onto Boylston Street, looking a couple blocks down the street for the finish line and thinking–’man, that’s still a long way to go.’ Apparently I made it, because somebody handed me a finisher’s medal. So there you go, Mike.

Seven years ago this month Mike was fighting for his life at our house. He required a certain amount of help, which he accepted with graceful reluctance. We all took turns doing the various things he needed to ease his pain and provide some measure of comfort, and one of us usually slept in the room with him so we could adjust his meds, get him a drink (root beer!), go to the bathroom, or massage his swollen legs.

Late one night I was asleep on the couch and he called out to me. ‘Jack can you help me up?” he asked. I went over to the hospital bed that hospice had set up for him and helped him sit up. ‘I want to stand up,’ he said. I helped him to his feet and stood facing him. He opened his arms and said ‘Come here.’ I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but stepped forward. He wrapped his arms around me, held me, and said simply, ‘Thank you.’ Then he sat back down on the bed.

I’m sure Mike found ways to tell each of us goodbye. I will always treasure that moment. It’s made me more human. And it’s what drove me to run 16.2 miles through the heat from Hopkinton to Boston.

Thanks for all the donations, everybody. We raised over $9,000 to fight Ocular Melanoma. Way to go.

Posted by: Jack Savage | April 16, 2012

Thanks Everyone!

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and support. It’s going to be hot tomorrow, so I’ll be running pretty conservatively. If you’d like tofollow my progress through the race, you can get alerts by signing up here: http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/att-athlete-alert.aspx

 

Read More…

Posted by: Jack Savage | April 14, 2012

Making Connections

Mike finishing a race, just as I hope to finish the Boston Marathon.

When I got the idea in my head to raise money to fight Ocular Melanoma by running the Boston Marathon on Team Eye and Ear, my motivation was to honor my late brother-in-law, Mike Kimball. Over the ensuing months, this project has evolved into something greater than that, and I have no doubt that Mike and his family would approve.

Earlier this week Cheryl and I had the privilege of meeting Sandy and Tom, a mother and father of someone currently battling ocular melanoma. (Since the person afflicted has children of his own who may or may not understand the seriousness of their Dad’s situation, I’m leaving out the last names.) They live in a town near us and were surprised as we were to learn about another case of ocular melanoma so close to home (since it’s so rare.) They have been thorough and exhaustive in their research as they’ve advocated for their son, who was first diagnosed back in 2002. An eye operation back then seemed to have addressed the melanoma, but more recently it has been found elsewhere, and the battle is ongoing. The good news is that there have been developments in the last decade that provide considerable hope. Sandy and Tom’s son may be incredibly unlucky to have been afflicted so randomly by ocular melanoma, but he is fortunate to have such caring, determined parents who want not only a positive outcome for their son, but for anyone else who finds themselves similarly stricken. Thank you Sandy and Tom.

Since I started this campaign I also learned about the McDonald family, who has a home right around the corner from our farm. George McDonald died of ocular melanoma just last May, and they are equally dedicated to honoring George’s memory by helping Eye and Ear researchers find ways to beat the disease. Thank you to them.

So as I anticipate the actual running of the Boston Marathon on Monday, my quest has broadened. I will still run in honor of Mike Kimball, but I will also carry with me the caring memories the McDonald’s have of George as well as the hopes of Sandy and Tom for their son. Along the way others have encouraged me and donated in honor of their own friends and family who have faced cancer in some form. I am certain that they will all lift me along the 26.2-mile route.

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