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The Barr Program and DFMC


DFMC: Philanthropy in Action

DFMC Takes Its First Steps

The Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research was established in 1987 by Dana-Farber Trustees Delores Barr Weaver and her husband, Wayne, in memory of Delores' mother. The Barr Program propels completely new lines of research, and it plays a pivotal role in the development of early-career scientists who work on a broad range of research investigations in order to yield new clues about cancer. It is also critical for conducting basic research, which is not eligible for federal fundraising until well along in proof of principle. The program enables leading-edge, highly-innovative research up to the point that it may be possible to attract government or private support, allowing Barr Investigators to bring promising studies forward and make major scientific breakthroughs.

In April 1989, Harvard freshman Michael Silverstein ran the Boston Marathon® in memory of his friend Seth Feldman, a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute patient who had recently succumbed to a brain tumor. Mike's run raised more than $35,000 for Dana-Farber. Inspired by Mike's fundraising endeavors, the Weavers offered a $50,000 "Challenge grant" to Dana-Farber to organize a Boston Marathon team that would raise funds for the Barr Program.

Simultaneously, Bill and Peter Santis, grandsons of Institute founder Sidney Farber, M.D., contacted Dana-Farber looking for a novel way to support the Institute. The Santis brothers helped recruit fellow athletes, and, on Monday, April 16, 1990, nineteen runners laced up their running shoes to raise funds for the Barr Program by running the 94th Boston Marathon. The runners raised $50,000, and earned the Weavers' "Challenge grant" for a season total of $100,000.

DFMC Today

Now in its 29th season, DFMC's annual roster has blossomed to include hundreds of dedicated athletes who share the Weavers' vision of a world without cancer. Setting their sights equally high, DFMC runners embark on their own Boston Marathon journey to raise millions of dollars as a team in honor and in memory of their loved ones. The DFMC team is a diverse group, ranging from young people to the young at heart, from novice runners to experienced marathoners, from New England residents to runners abroad, from college students to homemakers, from CEOs to retirees. Our marathon roster includes runner-fundraisers who are not time-qualified for the Boston Marathon as well as a sizeable contingent of Boston qualifiers. Virtually every teammate has been touched in some way by cancer. These dedicated individuals are united by their tremendous personal commitment to fighting this terrible disease through the fundraising and training components of DFMC.

One hundred percent of the funds raised by DFMC team members support Barr Program research initiatives. To date, DFMC has raised more than $85 million, and more than 200 innovative scientific investigations have received critical funding. In 2018, the team aims to celebrate its 29th year by raising $5.5 million.



Barr Program Impact

The Claudia Adams Barr ProgramThe Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is widely recognized as one of the largest and most successful programs of its kind. Based on a rigorous and highly selective process, the Claudia Adams Barr Program selects the brightest, most creative scientists and funds their most innovative ideas to propel basic research discoveries that transform cancer treatment. Claudia Adams Barr Program investigators have made tremendous advances and spearheaded breakthroughs that are improving care, quality of life, and survival for patients everywhere.

Summary of four key areas of Barr Program impact

These brief project descriptions illustrate examples of the high-impact work accomplished by Claudia Adams Barr Program investigators as they break new ground in cancer research. This one-page graphic summarizes four key areas of Barr Program impact.



Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

From achieving the first remissions in cancer with chemotherapy in 1948, to developing the very latest new therapies, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is one of the world’s leading centers of cancer research and treatment. It is the only center ranked by U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals in the top 4 for both adult and pediatric cancer care.

Dana-Farber sits at the center of a wide range of collaborative efforts to reduce the burden of cancer through scientific inquiry, clinical care, education, community engagement, and advocacy. Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center provides the latest in cancer care for adults; Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center for children; and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center unites the cancer research efforts of five Harvard academic medical centers and two graduate schools.

Dana-Farber is dedicated to a unique 50/50 balance between cancer research and care, and much of the Institute’s work is dedicated to translating the results of its discovery into new treatments for patients locally, and around the world. Learn more about Dana-Farber.



Boston Marathon®

Boston Athletic Association | Boston Marathon(R)

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks among the most prestigious road racing events. The Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.) manages this American classic, which is sponsored by John Hancock Financial Services. Since its inception in 1897, the Boston Marathon has distinguished itself as the pinnacle event within the sport of road racing by virtue of its traditions, longevity, and entry standards.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is indebted to the B.A.A. for its longtime partnership and ongoing support.

Learn more about the B.A.A. and the Boston Marathon.

Boston Marathon, B.A.A. Marathon™ and the B.A.A. Unicorn Logo are registered trademarks of the Boston Athletic Association. The Boston Marathon name and logo are used with permission from the B.A.A. by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is part of the B.A.A.’s Official Charity Program for the Boston Marathon. Use of the B.A.A.’s Boston Marathon name and marks without written permission from the B.A.A. is strictly prohibited.


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