This Sunday, Farmington resident and ESPN feature producer Miriam Greenfield, 49, will take part in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk to support cancer research Sunday.
“When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, you hear cancer and think I’m not going to live or survive this,” said Greenfield. “I wasn’t sure I was going to survive, let alone walk or hike or do anything I like doing. To have that experience a year later, to walk, and to walk the full marathon route with my friend who have been so supportive with me, he’s like an older brother, that meant everything.”
The Jimmy Fund Walk participant said she had been told long ago to keep climbing and to keep walking along her journey in the face of her diagnosis.
“That’s just what this is. Keep walking and keep climbing,” said Greenfield about facing cancer. “It’s symbolic of what happens when you get cancer and to (walk) just see other survivors and share stories and to get that encouragement, it’s an incredibly moving day and I get that chance to reflect then in my head.”
Greenfield said she uses the walk to help her live in the moment and to remind herself how far she’s come in life.
Greenfield was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. After a few months of biopsies, scans and surgery, she was still uncertain if she needed chemo. Looking for guidance, Greenfield’s friend Vin Cannamela, and fellow ESPN associate, recommended she speak with an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There, she said she was able to make a decision to get moving forward in life once more.
Having survived cancer, Greenfield participated in her first Jimmy Fund Walk with the Cannamelas, traveling over 26 miles over the course of nine hours, in 2017. This coming Walk event will be her sixth and Vannamela’s 26th. She said she took a year to recover before walking past her first starting line. Greenfield noted she has survived cancer twice and has no sign of the condition in her body, but she also emphasizes the importance of remaining vigilant and monitoring one’s health consistently.
In July, Greenfield said she covered a story for ESPN’s My Wish series about Joseph Tagaban of Petersburg, Alaska, who wished to play basketball with an NBA player. The youth played and spent time with the player and less than a week after the event learned that he had been diagnosed with cancer again.
“Since he’s been in the hospital fighting for his life, he’s doing a lot better now but for this walk I’m going to be walking in his honor,” she said.
The Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk has brought more than $155 million to fund cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute over the course of 33 years. The walk seeks to support many forms of pediatric and adult care along with cancer research at the institute.
Those participating in the walk can take part in a 5k version of the course, 10k, a half-marathon consisting of over 13 miles and the full marathon of over 26 miles. The event is set to follow the iconic Boston Marathon course.