That is the acronym imprinted on the aqua-colored bracelet, a memento which I, along with a number of others, picked up yesterday at the registration table for the Never Give Up Hope 10K held at Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, MD. The letters represent “What Would Hope Do?” This woman possessed the fiercest tenacity, the most vociferous outrage, the warmest affection, and a marvelous sense of humor. As a follow-up to Kevin’s post, here are a few photos and accompanying commentary.
At the registration table, we find a portrait of Hope and the basket containing the bracelets.
Caught here at the ready, in a pose of characteristic gesticulation, is Kevin (black gloves, white singlet) chatting with Dave, the young fellow with the shades and tattoo on his upper left arm. Dave finished in fourth place, and is a pretty swift guy. He’s also rational, cynical, and funny as hell which gives me hope for the next generation.
If he’s so inclined, Kevin can add his time to 8 significant figures here (not that he is anal retentive or anything about his racing data), but i’ll just note that he was the 1st place guy and overall winner. See…he’s so fast that the photo is blurred. Alternatively, this photo may just have been expanded from Beck as a speck.
Among the one hundred runners was a surprise guest, and one who I can’t help but think Hope would have been thrilled to have running in her race. Her back is turned to the camera (a superb photographer I am not), but the woman with the long dark hair and the black and yellow attire who is chatting with Kevin and Dave (left) is Patti Catalano Dillon. Patti burned up the roads in the 70′s and 80′s, and hers is likewise a story of determination. Her presence at Hope’s race was fitting.
Hope inspired many runners, and certainly, even as a fat old hobbyjogger, I admired her dedicated push toward athletic accomplishment. But more than that, Hope was, and continues to be, my muse. She placed a laughing, raging, insightful human face onto my abstract scientific pursuits of cancer targets. We would laugh and cry during lengthy phone conversations about her chemotherapy and how she felt about the disease. Hope’s breast cancer was of the Her2/neu (ErbB-2) positive type, that is, the ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase’s expression becomes dysregulated and feeds aggressively into cell proliferation and angiogenesis. Hope’s oncologist treated her with state-of-the-art medications, including Herceptin, a monoclonal antibody, which targets the ErbB-2 kinase. It’s one thing to think about the ErbB-2′s enzymology, how its regulation goes awry, and how its constituitive activity sets in motion the spread of the cancer. It’s another when your friend is describing her treatments, her worry that potential adverse cardiovascular effects will cut into her cherished time on the treadmill, and the looming question: will it work?
Many people at the race will wear that bracelet, and eck out more miles in their pursuit of faster race times or just plain fitness. Indeed, I will wear it for the latter, and I am assured that Hope would soundly kick my jiggling ass for allowing it to become so out-of-shape. I will also wear it to remind myself that I am engaged in discovery research not only for the gee-whiz-ain’t-this-interesting factor, but also to find more effective (and hopefully not astronomically priced) cancer treatments.
Thanks to Hope’s family and friends for organizing this event, and here’s a big hat tip to Hope herself. May her memory continue to inspire us in myriad ways.