If this doesn’t inspire you to get up and do something, nothing will. It’s time to change the world, people!!!
Aubrey was just four when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease that was once fatal for nine out of ten children.
“My first doctor was the head oncologist at a local hospital who spent one day a week studying at Sloan-Kettering and the other four days of the week practicing what he learned in his community,” Aubrey explained. It was the transfer of knowledge from MSKCC’s research lab to her bedside that saved the young girl’s life.
Aubrey battled cancer for seven years, enduring round after round of chemotherapy treatments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. Finally, at age 17, she was declared to be in full remission. “I was one of the lucky ones,” she said.
Aubrey went to college and began running to take a break from her studies. In 1992 she ran the Boston Marathon and became instantly hooked. “The first time I did Boston I ran unofficially, without a number,” Aubrey said. “I decided to run the New York City Marathon in order to qualify for Boston the following year.”
When Aubrey signed up for NYC, she received a mailing from Fred Lebow, president of the New York Road Runners and co-founder of the marathon, asking runners to collect sponsor donations to benefit cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
“When I first received the letter from Fred, I was so deeply touched,” she said. “I got a nice little bundle together that first year — about $1,500.” Within three years, the marathon program had reached its goal and raised enough to establish the Fred Lebow Chair in Neuro-Oncology.
Until that time, Aubrey had not talked about her own experience with cancer, but Fred Lebow inspired her to share her story. “I want people to hear about Memorial Sloan-Kettering and my success so they can understand the potential for success with other people. The results of their gifts then seem more tangible and meaningful. Talking about cancer is emotional, but in this context, it is positive and not sad.”
In 1997, The Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research was established in her name.
Aubrey has run 27 marathons with Fred’s Team, raising more than $500,000, and has seen the program blossom year after year. She invests a lot of time interacting with fellow runners, and her entire family volunteers to help out on marathon weekends. “The progress that’s made in cancer research through gifts made to Fred’s Team will save lives,” she said. “Memorial Sloan-Kettering offers the best cancer care there is.”