Norfolk Resident Walking to Benefit Cancer Care and Research
By Grace Allen
Michelle Daszkiewicz estimates she has walked over 350 miles and raised at least $100,000 for cancer research. Because for her, it’s personal. In September of 2020, her sister Teri Weir passed away after a decade-long struggle with aggressive breast cancer.
On October 2, Daszkiewicz will participate in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk, adding another 26.2 miles to her tally. She will walk alongside members of “Teri’s Pink Ladies,” a group of friends she has walked with in every cancer fundraiser since Teri was diagnosed.
“My sister is my superhero,” said Daszkiewicz. “During her cancer battle, I saw or talked to her every day, and I knew the pain she was in but she did everything she could to keep fighting. I believe the money my team has raised has helped with the development of new drugs and treatments, and I feel those drugs and treatments allowed us to have eleven more years of memories with my sister.”
This will be Daszkiewicz’s third walk for the Jimmy Fund. She’s participated in other walks, too, including the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a two-day, 39.3-mile fundraiser, several times. Teri walked in some of those, and it was soon after one of the AVON walks that doctors discovered her cancer had metastasized.
Teri, a Plainville native, worked in the financial services industry, but Daszkiewicz says her sister was so inspired by the care she received at Dana-Farber that she decided to change career paths during the course of her treatment. Teri returned to school and became a medical assistant in OB/GYN, going on to work at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro until her passing.
“It became her passion to work with patients and to give back,” said Daszkiewicz.
Since its inception in 1989, the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk has raised more than $155 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year, participants will return to the Boston Marathon route after two years of walking virtually. The event is the largest single-day fundraising walk in the nation.
Daszkiewicz says people have asked her why she walks when she could simply donate to cancer research instead.
“I walk because I can,” she explained. “I’m healthy and I’m walking for everyone battling cancer, not just breast cancer. When I walk I think about all the people who are suffering. The pain I might feel is nothing compared to what they’re going through. I can do this, I tell myself.”
Reflecting on the unexpected extra time she had with her sister, Daszkiewicz says the funds raised through the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk have directly improved outcomes and awareness of all kinds of cancers.
“I do see good things coming out of the money that’s raised and how it helped my sister,” said Daszkiewicz. “She was Stage 4 from the beginning, but we had her for 11 more years. The medicines really kept the cancer at bay. It was amazing, but oh do I miss her.”
Daszkiewicz has set a personal goal to raise $1,000 for Dana-Farber. To donate, visit https://danafarber.jimmyfund.org and click on the link for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Click on Menu to search for a participant or team.