Pittsfield's Shaun Tierney to again be Walk Hero at Jimmy Fund Walk

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PITTSFIELD — Since 1989, the Jimmy Fund Walk has been dedicated to supporting patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

On September 24, nine Pittsfield residents will be joining 9,500 walkers to help contribute to a fundraising goal of more than $9 million. Jessica Barber, Katie Brelsford, Catherine Cybulski, Sarah Eddy, Sean Rozak, Joan Wrinn, John Rozak, Beth Rozak, and Emma Rozak will walk up to 26.2 miles along the Boston Marathon course to do their part for an event that raises the most money of any single day walk in the nation.

Along the way, the walkers will see another Pittsfield resident, one that knows the effects of cancer, and the help and care that Dana-Farber provides.

Shaun Tierney, 58, is a Walk Hero for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. He will be inspiring walkers along the course. Tierney was diagnosed with kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma), and is being treated at Dana-Farber Cancer institute. Walk Heroes are matched with walk teams to give participants an opportunity to connect with patients. Tierney is matched with a company named Novartis. Shaun and his wife Mary have been walkers since 2007.

"It means the world to me that so many people are willing to give time and money to the research that has allowed me to live with stage-four cancer." Tierney said. "Without that money and those breakthroughs, I wouldn't be here. When I was diagnosed the outlook was grim. Only two medicines were available as treatment. There are now nine additional drugs on the market to help in the fight."

The Jimmy Fund walk has raised more than $120 million in its 29-year history. The Boston Athletic Association has supported the Boston Marathon Jimmy fund Walk since 1989, while Hyundai has been the presenting sponsor since 2002.

"Last year we raised $8 million in one afternoon," Tierney said. "We are starting to see more and more families participate. All of my family goes and participates and as a Walk Hero, they create posters and inspire the walkers as they travel. I stand by my poster and it is very emotional to see people stop and read my story or touch my picture."

Shaun has been on treatment for over 10 years. While he plans his life around treatment cycles, he always finds time for the Jimmy Fund Walk.

"I want to give people hope," Tierney said. "Especially for the people who heard those three words. There is hope and there are breakthroughs every day. I am just generally born with a positive outlook and personality. My motivation is my family and I want to help others be strong, have hope, and hopefully a good outcome."

The walkers can choose from four routes along the course. There is the Marathon Walk, which is 26.2 miles long. The half marathon is 13.1 miles and also a 10K walk. Finally, there is a 5K walk, which includes many patients and their families.

"The event is a meaningful way to fund cancer care and research and honor loved ones. Our Walk Heroes along the route remind us of this and make the connection to the event much deeper," said Zack Blackburn, assistant vice president of the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. "The farther we go in fundraising, giving, walking, or team-building, the further we go toward conquering cancer."

To register for the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai (#JimmyFundWalk), to support a walker, or to volunteer, visit www.JimmyFundWalk.org or call 866-531-9255. Registrants can enter the promo code NEWS for $5 off the registration fee.

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