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Anya Cullen

Anya Cullen

Dear Friends,

This year, I will be running the 2019 NYC Half Marathon as part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team for Cures. I will be running on St. Patrick’s Day in honor of my dad, who lost an honorable, hard-fought battle against Multiple Myeloma in November of 2012.

Those who knew my dad might remember him by his sharp and (often too) quick-witted humor, his boundless empathy, the countless colorful stories he so much enjoyed telling, and the bright twinkle in his eyes—which shined especially bright whenever he was pulling one of his famously clever and mischievous pranks, naturally on the people he cared for the most (I must admit, that as a person with vast experience as one of his favorite, "far too easy targets”…this “twinkle” was not quite as endearing while on the receiving end of his humor). Anyone who met my dad immediately treasured whatever amount of time they spent with him—and, while no amount of such time could ever be considered wasted, it was certainly cut far too short by a vicious disease.

It is only fitting that my first half-marathon falls on St. Patrick’s day, which my dad looked forward to in a way much like a young child looks forward to Christmas morning. Year after year, my dad excitedly put on his custom 3-piece-tweed suit, a perfectly matched Trinity Cap tilted ever so slightly to the left, and a silk tie of emerald green (of course), before grabbing one of his many Shillelagh’s (a collection which I frankly still don't understand why he owned exactly, if I'm being honest) and made his way into Manhattan for the start of the parade. This year, I’ll be carrying on his tradition--just a few hours earlier and at a (hopefully) quicker pace (disclaimer: try as I might, my attire will certainly be no where near as impressive).

My dad frequently reminded me that nothing I ever do in my life will ever be as valuable as that which I can do to help someone else. My dad was a man who wore many caps- a lawyer, a judge, a friend, a cousin, a brother, a beloved spouse and father, the list goes on. Each role came with a list of differing demands, which he satisfied keeping in mind the one goal of doing as much good as he possibly could. I hope to do in my life even an ounce of the good my dad did in his.

By running this half-marathon, I hope to add even the tiniest piece to the pavement towards a cure- so that nobody who has a loved one suffering from Myeloma will ever have to wake up to the words "they're gone" again.

My goal in racing 13.1 miles is to raise just $1,000 for MMRF. Training for this event will be a challenge, but is nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. Over 30,000 people are diagnosed yearly with multiple myeloma and an estimated 12,000 are predicted to die each year from the disease. I'm proud to be part of the action that is helping fund and fuel important research: Thanks to the important work of the MMRF and our partners, the FDA has approved TEN new treatments in the time that it usually takes for ONE new drug to come to market. There are even more treatment options in the pipeline. This research is especially important because myeloma is a cunning disease which morphs through treatment—meaning that patients often need new forms of treatment options when they relapse.

I have committed to raising $1,000 for the MMRF and I humbly ask for your help to reach my goal. Please consider donating to a cause that is so very close to my heart. Any amount will make a difference. And, if you are unable to make a monetary donation, you can still help tremendously by just offering your support and encouragement. Trust me, I’ll need as much of it as I can get (did I mention this race was at 7AM?! I’ll have to train harder than I ever have before just to wake up on time!!!)

Thank you so much for your support,
Anya S. Cullen

I also kindly ask each of you to not only keep my dad in your hearts and prayers over the coming weeks, but to also remember the tremendous life of Christina Hanophy—a treasured friend to all who knew her, a source of indescribable joy, comfort, wisdom, and guidance to her family and friends, and an everlasting presence within her community and the lives of those whose paths were lucky enough to have crossed with hers.

Mrs. Hanophy’s fight against Multiple Myeloma coincided, in part, with that of my dad’s and she was a person whose character he held to be of the highest virtue. Her battle against Myeloma was fought with the utmost dignity, courage, grace, and humility. She lives on through each member of her family which she held so dear--a family which I, personally, admire immensely and consider to be a treasured source of kinship to that of my own. And, for giving each of us this, I will be forever indebted to Mrs. Hanophy.


raised of $1,000 goal


1. Matching Gift - Hillebrand
2. Suzanne Klein
Good Luck Anya. I think I may know who you are. I think I remember you As a baby , I am sorry to hear about your Dad. Suzanne Klein
3. Norah Kearney
4. Charles Trupia
5. Michael Gismondi
Michael Gismondi
6. David Trupia
You have our support! Dave Trupia

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