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Inspiration For Us All

Dear Lisa.

It's been five months since I ran the Pittsburgh marathon to raise money for the Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research. I can't believe
it's taken me this long to write. I kept starting a letter but would be side-tracked by exciting developments in the lab!

My decision to run the marathon began when I awoke one Sunday morning in 2002 to see hundreds of marathoners running up the street outside my apartment. I was amazed to see that many of them did not appear to be in great shape! I thought, "if these people can do it, I can too". When I told my friends I thought I could run a marathon, they scoffed at my prediction (as is required of all good friends when someone makes such claims of physical prowess!). That was it. The gauntlet had been thrown!

One month (and many Ibuprofen) into my training, I decided that somebody really should benefit from the physical abuse that my body was suffering. Undertaking my Ph.D. training in Dr Olja Finn's lab, I'm able to experience first-hand how lucky we are to have the Arenson Fund as one of our allies in the fight against Pancreatic Cancer. Running the marathon for pledges seemed a perfect way to give something back and to say thank you to all the people who work so hard to support the joint mission of Dr Finn and the Arenson Fund. It was also a great way of gaining support, from my friends, who had previously been betting against me!

I owe a huge thanks to my parents, who press-ganged family and friends back home in the UK for donations, which account for almost half of the total moneys raised. The total estimate from Delores, combining everything collected here and in the UK, is that over $700 in donations was received.

A couple of friends set the extra challenge for me to complete the marathon in under 3.5 hours, which I'm glad to say I achieved, finishing in just under 3h15mins. Apparently this is a really good time, especially for a first-time marathoner, and is only 5 mins outside the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. Let me tell you, missing out on Boston by 5 minutes is like a red-rag to a bull (notice a pattern here?!). So I'm planning on running another Marathon again next year, with my sights firmly set on a time of 3h10mins and a subsequent trip to Boston in 2005. Of course, I plan to run both races for my favorite charity, the Nathan S. Arenson Fund for Pancreatic Cancer Research.

I hope that you are doing well, and look forward to seeing you at the
Arenson Fund Circle of Friendship luncheon.



Michael Turner
Dept of Immunology
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Pittsburgh, PA 15213