MMRF RACE FOR RESEARCH
Meet Susan Gimilaro
MMRF Race for Research: Boston 5K Walk/Run
Posted: March, 2013
The MMRF is delighted to recognize Susan Gimilaro as the 2013 MMRF Race for Research: Boston 5K Walk/Run Spirit of Hope honoree. Two years ago, Susan led a very active life. She was a hiking leader and rock climbing guru at the Appalachian Mountain Club and a regular at her gym. She began to feel tired and was told on multiple occasions to rest. After seeing her PCP and getting a few blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy, Susan Gimilaro was diagnosed with multiple myeloma on March 22, 2011.
Following Susan's diagnosis, her good friend Joan Matsalia, Joan’s daughter Samantha, and Joan's grandson Christopher jumped in to do what they could to help. They learned about the MMRF Race for Research: Boston 5K Walk/Run and quickly formed a team to support Susan and raise money to fight myeloma.
On the day of the 2011 race, buoyed by the support of Joan and others, and inspired by their willingness to take action, Susan pledged that she would be at the starting line in 2012. And boy was she!
When the time came to register for the 2012 race and name her team, Susan reached out to her friends and asked them for suggestions on Facebook. Team Multiple Miracles was posed. To Susan, the name was perfect. “Miracles are all around us, particularly those of us with cancer. Every step along the way brings little miracles - stem cell transplants, remission, and the return of better health. But we are all waiting for the BIG miracle - a cure!” she says.
“Team Multiple Miracles” was formed and quickly expanded in size and scope. Many of Susan’s family and friends came to support her on race day. Susan’s son Joe, a University of Hartford student, recruited his fraternity brothers to join the effort. The team, with a total of 34 members, raised over $14,000 in their first year! “There was such a large group of friends and supporters with us on race day. It was so inspiring and we had such fun – despite the early morning rain,” beams Susan, when she talks about last year’s race.
Susan is happy to proclaim that she is alive and in remission! She does not regret the things she cannot do anymore (like being a hiking leader, or wearing a nice pair of heels) but looks at new things to pursue and conquer. Her glass-half-full mentality has helped her believe the possibilities in her life are truly endless!
Susan is deeply moved and honored to be the 2013 MMRF Race for Research: Boston 5K Walk/Run Spirit of Hope honoree. Susan says, “HOPE is such a key word to me. I am filled with hope every day: HOPE that I will remain in remission. HOPE that the newly approved therapies – developed by the MMRF will be good options for me if needed down the line. And HOPE that there will soon be a cure. HOPE is what keeps me going, what keeps me smiling and living my life.”
Susan Gimilaro before her myeloma diagnosis
Team Multiple Miracles at the 2012 Boston Race
Susan with her children, Sarah and Joseph, right before her stem cell transplant
Susan enjoys a Patriots game with her mom and dad and husband Joe