An Emotional Tour…

Posted: May 6, 2011 in General

Thursday April 28, 2011 was my second attempt to tour the Yawkey Center at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.  Winter weather scrapped my first tour so April vacation it was.  Michelle and I headed down to Boston with my parents in tow as they had an appointment right around the corner.  After parking the car, we headed up the elevator to the lobby to meet Kaitlin, our tour guide for the morning.  I have to saw, the Yawkey Center is a magnificent building.  Bright and cheery with lots of sweeping curves and soft lines; the lobby was impressive enough.  What we saw on the rest of the tour was amazing.  The whole building was designed with patient input.  From the chairs, of which they tested thousands, to the central location of all the important patient services, to the cafeteria to the indoor garden, no detail was left out.  Our tour was amazing.  I was nervous as we walked around as this was the place my Dad had come to over 20 years ago for cancer treatment.  I was too young at the time to go and visit him when he was there so this was the first time I had been in the building.  The Yawkey Center is connected to the older Dana Farber building by a sky bridge.  It is also connected to other hospitals on that block as Dana Farber is out patient only.  Any patient that needs over night care is taken care of in one of the adjoining buildings.  You can see from the pictures what the Yawkey Center is like.  The healing garden, the chapel, all the windows, the pictures and plaques all give you a feeling of hope.  As we walked up the stairs from the lobby to the second floor, we saw all of the steel girders that have the names of patients on them.  As the Yawkey Center was being built, the steel workers saw that the kids at Dana Farber were holding up signs in the windows.  The workers responded by writing the names of the kids on the steel.  The decision was made to keep the names visible in the stairwells.  It’s great to see.  There is also a large PMC section in the building.  One of the sky bridges is called the PMC bridge and looks like a great stretch of open road.  There are a number of photographs and jerseys and plaques in this area as well.  The names of the Heavy Hitter teams and other big donors are prominently displayed.  On the bottom floor of the building is the Red Sox gallery.  The Sox are a huge part of the Jimmy Fund and always have been. The Jimmy Fund started in 1948 when the Variety Club of New England (now the Variety Children’s Charity of New England) and the Boston Braves baseball team joined forces to help a 12-year-old cancer patient dubbed “Jimmy.” On a national radio broadcast, millions heard the boy visit with his heroes from the Braves as they stood by his hospital bed. Contributions poured in from people everywhere.  In 1953, the owners of the Red Sox adopted the Jimmy Fund as the official charity of the Sox when the Braves moved to Milwaukee.  The rest is history.  This may have been my favorite part of the tour.  TONS of Sox history here.  One-of-a-kind memorabilia all over the walls.  Then, we went to my least favorite part of the tour.  We walked over to the old part of the building.  We stood in front of the old entrance to Dana Farber.  It was cold, dark and sad.  It was the set of doors that my Dad walked through.  I was glad that the tour ended just after that.  I was ready to leave.  The emotions of being in that building were beginning to get to me at that point. I hope you can overlook the jumpy nature of this post.  There are several more pictures at the bottom of this post for you to check out.  It has been the hardest one to write so far.  I am sure that as I get closer to the ride the emotional rollercoaster will have bigger ups and downs.  I can only guess what my emotions will be like as I start day one of the PMC on August 6th.  I do the same for the end of mile 192 on August 7th.  Your monetary support is needed.  Your emotional support is needed as well.  Cancer is not an easy topic for anyone to deal with.  I’m glad that I have ALL of you helping me.  I appreciate the support.

  1. Marian E says:

    Marcus, I didn’t see this post as “jumpy”…just heartfelt. Your passion for this cause has touched my heart. I know your purpose for riding is intensely personal, but I hope you’re ok with taking a little of each of us who have a loved one who has battled (or lost the fight) with you, as well. You’re an inspiration, and I’m proud to know you.

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