Name: Lauren Charamut
Age: 26
Hometown: Rocky Hill, CT
When my mom was told she needed to begin treatment we, as a family, didn't know what to do. Does life come to a halt? How do you manage your life with all the worry of your sick loved one? My mom, without thought or discussion, made that decision for us. My dad and I were training for his first marathon, the Hartford Marathon, when we found out one of my mom’s first treatments at Dana Farber in Boston fell on the same date. Before we could protest, she coordinated an alternative ride to Boston, and insisted we go through with the race. That sacrifice made an incredible impact on my life.
As she began to respond well to her treatments, and we settled into this new normal, my dad and I began looking into running another race together. When my mom suggested signing up with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to be on their New York City Marathon Team, I felt compelled to do so. Not only did I want to give back to an organization that made my mom’s treatment at a world-renowned hospital possible, but I felt like it was a way to give back to her as well for the sacrifice she had made for us two years prior. 
The experience was incredible, it forced me to open up and talk about the struggles my family had faced, something I had previously kept bottled up inside. It felt so good to give back to an organization that helped fund the creation of the drug that was saving my mom’s life. I knew as soon as I got started that working with and fundraising for the MMRF was going to be a lifelong commitment.  
When the opportunity arose to hike Mount Fuji I was very hesitant. I applied, but did not seriously consider the possibility that I would join the team. Frankly, the prospect of hiking over 12,000 feet in elevation with a strong fear of heights is a daunting task. However, when I found out the doctors at Dana Farber had classified my mom’s cancer as in remission, I was overwhelmed. She went up against her battle with guns blazing, never showing fear. The least I could do is train for four months to hike a mountain, conquering my fear of heights and being truly out of my element. 
I am most eager for the opportunity to continue fundraising for the MMRF and to share my mom’s story with the multiple myeloma community. Being involved has forced me to ask more questions about the disease and treatment, something I had been in denial about in the past.  The MMRF has given me an optimistic outlook on multiple myeloma, and learning about the good work this nonprofit organization does has truly given me hope.
Having something positive to push for, even though her treatment is ongoing and my mom still has bad days, has changed me. I thank the MMRF for accepting me on this Mount Fuji challenge. As a caregiver, I too need their support to keep being a positive force in my mom and families lives. Together there is hope.
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