Friday, May 9, 2014
Memorial Sloan Kettering supporter David Friezo went — literally — to the top of the world to raise funds for pediatric patients and their families. This is his story.
Ask yourself: Would you have the fortitude, the sheer determination — well, let’s call it what it is — the courage to run 26.2 miles on ice floes with only six to 12 feet separating you from the Arctic Ocean? For most of us the answer is a resounding no.
Runners leave the starting gate to begin the North Pole Marathon. -- Copyright: http://www.npmarathon.com/
A lone runner amid the frozen beauty of the arctic. -- Copyright: http://www.npmarathon.com/
David Friezo competes in the North Pole Marathon. -- Copyright: http://www.npmarathon.com/
Marathoners traverse the thick sheet of ice covering the North Pole. -- Copyright: http://www.npmarathon.com/
David Friezo celebrates after completing the race. -- Copyright: http://www.npmarathon.com/
But there is a man who does. In April, Memorial Sloan Kettering supporter David Friezo competed in the North Pole Marathon. And he did it for others who demonstrate extraordinary courage every day of the year: the children being treated for cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering and their families.
David and his brothers, Michael and Marc, became active fund-raisers for the institution in the early 1990s, when David and Michael began running the New York City Marathon as members of Fred’s Team. Named in honor of Fred Lebow, co-founder of the marathon, the team has raised more than $50 million for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Inspired by Mr. Lebow’s commitment to conquering cancer, the Friezo family became increasingly involved in supporting Memorial Sloan Kettering’s mission, eventually donating $1 million to establish the Friezo Family Support Fund.
The Hidden Costs of Childhood Cancer
Pediatric cancer comes with substantial costs. The emotional price is clear, but there can be less-obvious financial struggles as well. The Friezo Family Support Fund helps to defray certain expenses families often incur while their children are undergoing treatment. For example, many families may need to stay close to the hospital during treatment, creating an ongoing need for short- and long-term housing. In addition, sometimes one or even both parents have to stop working while a child is being treated. As a result, they can face severe hardships during what is already an arduous time in their lives.
The Fund provides a way for Memorial Sloan Kettering to help alleviate some financial concerns for these families. Support may also include non-reimbursable expenses such as transportation, parking, prosthetic devices, and prescription drugs.
So as most of us were preparing for Easter or Passover or simply breaking out our spring wardrobes, David was returning from his run at the top of the world on the frozen water of the high Arctic Ocean — the amazing race of a lifetime.
One very courageous man. A community of brave children and families. It’s a winning combination — and a winning team!
The Friezo Family Foundation and the Lydian Advisory Group, of which David is a managing partner, have pledged to match the first $100,000 of donations made by individuals. If you would like to make a donation to the Friezo Family Support Fund, please go to their giving page.