Finish line: a huge thank you to all our runners!

After months of training and build-up, it’s so hard to believe the Boston Marathon is over. Joe and I can only imagine how it feels for you, our amazing Joe Andruzzi Foundation Marathon Team members, to complete this challenging journey… for this year, anyway!

It goes without saying that this is an enormous accomplishment. You just ran one of the world’s toughest, most historic marathons – many of you for the first time. And you did it in blistering heat. Congratulations!

We had 19 runners on the course Monday, having started with only seven confirmed team members in January. Collectively, you raised more than $90,000 for the Joe Andruzzi Foundation this year – surpassing our team goal by more than $25,000!

In a year when many charity teams had trouble reaching their fundraising goals, your contribution is even more impressive. You all went the extra mile to raise donations; we know you were emailing, Facebooking, partying, playing poker – and even selling doggie treats – like crazy for our cause. Your hard work and creativity really paid off.

Joe and I want to tell you that your tenacity, generosity, caring and energy inspired us immensely. We simply couldn’t do our work – helping cancer patients and families, and funding pediatric brain research – without the support of people like you. The money you’ve raised will be put to good use, helping families pay stressful bills and stay focused on treatment.

You’ve given us so many great moments over the past few months. The Saturday Superhero run in February was hilarious, as you took a breather with us at Heartbreak Hill in your crazy bright costumes and capes. And the 21-mile Easter-themed run a few weeks ago, with everyone dressed as bunnies, was awesome too. We loved rooting you on – and, of course, sporting our rabbit ears!

Your humor and creativity made tracking your training so much fun, even as the personal stories you’ve shared on this blog touched our hearts. Thank you for welcoming us into your lives and families, and giving us a glimpse of your personal motivations, struggles, inspirations and triumphs. It’s been a real pleasure for us, and all of our Foundation’s supporters, to get to know you.

Cancer has touched all of our lives. For some of us, it’s challenged our own health and that of family members; it’s taken close friends and loved ones. And it’s taught us that we’re all in this together and that even the smallest gestures and offers of help matter.

We look forward to continuing our work together and hope to see you all on Heartbreak Hill again next year. Congratulations again! You made it across the finish line, and you made a big difference in the lives of cancer patients.

— Jen Andruzzi