For us, and those who have joined us, this is personal. Perhaps it is to you as well. Jenny Mulligan was our founder’s sister, best friend and mother of five. When doctors found a large tumor in Jenny’s brain – called a glioblastoma – it simultaneously devastated and galvanized the family to seek hope and a cure. There was none.
That was 2012 and the beginning of the effort we called 3000 Miles to a Cure. What we have come to understand since then is that this is a problem that can be solved with funding. Brilliant researchers are working hard on this complex problem and they have well-founded optimism that reasonable treatments are on the horizon. But they are limited by lack of funding for their research. Though it is the number one cancer killer of children, brain tumor research is not well funded by the National Institutes of Health. This is because funding is allocated based on prevalence in the population. Brain cancer kills so quickly that the proportion of cases in the population at a given time is low, despite its relatively high incidence. If we can extend life expectancy even one or two more years, this could have a massive and accelerating positive impact on the state of research.
So that is what we have set out to do. Our mission is to end brain cancer by raising funds for research, extending an open invitation to unite in hope and action for the cure.
Why 3000 Miles? Jenny’s sister and 3000 Miles to a Cure’s founder, Maria Parker, is an endurance cyclist with four World Ultramarathon Cycling Association records including the 100 mile, 200 mile, 12 hour and 24 hour events. She had qualified for the famous and grueling Race Across America (RAAM) many times.
But it wasn’t until Jenny’s diagnosis that Maria decided to compete in the 3000-mile Race Across America in order to try to make a difference by raising money for brain cancer research. Parker and her team called the effort 3000 Miles to a Cure.
Parker finished the race first among women in 11 days and 18 hours, despite having her follow vehicle totaled and dealing with the daunting physical, mental and emotional challenges of what is widely considered one of the toughest races in the world. Race Across America staff called her race “The Most Inspirational RAAM Story Ever.”