WESTMINSTER — Although Sunday, Oct. 2 may prove to be a challenging day for town resident Jason Payne, it won’t compare to how difficult life has been since being diagnosed with cancer last year.
Payne will be joining thousands of others and walking in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk presented by Hyundai to benefit Dana-Farber Cancer Institute the first Sunday of next month. This is his first time participating with team No Payne, No Gain through which he hopes to raise $2,000.
“The Jimmy Fund is already huge here in New England,” Payne said. “It’s important for me to get out there and advocate for people to get screened and not ignore their health, particularly for people who are healthy. I ignored things because I was ‘healthy’ and it’s costing me now.”
Payne recalled that when he was diagnosed with colon cancer last November at first, he was “terrified thinking the end is near, but after some talks with the docs and lots of prayer, I decided it wasn’t going to be the end of me.”
Some of his biggest cheerleaders supporting him throughout the ordeal have been his wife Lyn and their “amazing” seven-year-old daughter, Aayla Rae, who will both be joining him for the walk.
“Defy cancer to me means to not let cancer get in the way of living or doing the things you enjoy,” Payne said in a press release. “A diagnosis isn’t a death sentence. Attitude, mindset, and perspective help keep me positive and certain that I am going to kick this thing. And at the forefront of all of that are my family, my friends, and my faith. Because of those three things I have already won.”
As a Dana-Farber patient, Payne is walking for himself and his family.
“I want my daughter to understand the importance of helping others and show her strength by walking.”
The iconic annual walk aims to unite the community to raise funds to support all forms of adult and pediatric care and cancer research at the nation’s premier cancer center, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Through its 33 year history, the Jimmy Fund Walk has raised over $155 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“Dana Farber has been great to me and my family, and I wanted a way to give back and help raise money that could cure this disease for others behind me,” Payne said. “For me, I walk to show others that a diagnosis doesn’t have to mean stop living. For my daughter, to show her it’s important to help others if you can and I hope she will be active in charity work when she is an adult.”
This year, participants will return to the Boston Marathon course after two years of walking virtually. There are four different distance options walkers can choose from — a 3.1 mile 5K from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, a 6.2 mile 10K from Newton, a 13.1 Half Marathon Walk from Wellesley, or a 26.2 Marathon Walk from Hopkinton. Participants also have the option to join the event virtually by walking from wherever they are most comfortable, even on a treadmill at home or in a gym.
Payne said that while he is “looking forward to connecting more with people who are in a similar situation as me,” in all honesty, his goal is to simply finish the walk.
“The treatments make me pretty tired, so hoping I can complete the 10K.”
When asked what he would say to those who have supported his fundraising efforts, which so far has netted $930 as of press time, he was quick to say, “thank you thank you thank you!”
“Keep passing the message, the funds raised during events like the walk go directly to the research and result in life saving treatments,” Payne said. “I wouldn’t be in the good spirits I am if not for the power of positivity.”
For more information and to donate to team No Payne, No Gain visit tinyurl.com/yf9w2a82.