Aubrey Barr won a seven-year battle with childhood cancer and has since dedicated herself to making a difference in the lives of countless children by running with Fred's Team to support the fund that bears her name.
Aubrey was just four when she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a disease that was once fatal for nine out of ten children.
"My first doctor was the head oncologist at a local hospital who spent one day a week studying at Sloan-Kettering and the other four days of the week practicing in his community," Aubrey explained. It was this transfer of knowledge from MSKCC's research lab to her bedside that saved the young girl's life.
Aubrey battled cancer for seven years, enduring round after round of chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. At age 17, she was declared to be in full remission. "I was one of the lucky ones," she said.
Aubrey began running while in college. In 1992 she ran the Boston Marathon and became instantly hooked.
When Aubrey signed up for the 1992 New York City Marathon, she received a mailing from Fred Lebow, president of the New York Road Runners and co-founder of the marathon, encouraging runners to collect sponsor donations to benefit cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. This remarkable idea was the inspiration for Fred's Team.
"When I first received the letter from Fred, I was so deeply touched," she said. "I got a nice little bundle of donations together that first year — about $1,500."
Until that time, Aubrey had not talked about her own experience with cancer, but Fred Lebow inspired her to share her story. "I want people to hear about Memorial Sloan-Kettering and my success so they can understand the potential for success with other people. The results of their gifts then seem more tangible and meaningful."
In 1997, The Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research was established in her name, and, since then, Fred's Team has been the primary source of support for the fund.
Aubrey has run 27 marathons with Fred's Team, raising more than $500,000, and has seen the program blossom year after year. "The progress that's made in cancer research through gifts made to Fred's Team saves lives," she said.