Kevin O'Rourke '09

A letter from Kevin!


Kevin O'Rourke '09

2009 has been a fantastic year for me, indeed. In March, I flew to Minnesota to swim in my final collegiate swim meet, the NCAA Championships. It was great to cap off a great swimming career with my parents and teammates. Soon after that, I graduated from Middlebury College with my degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and I began to make the transition to a research position at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This summer I began work at "DFCI," but not before submitting my thesis to the Journal of Bacteriology, where it was accepted for publication and will be printed in March along with a picture from my article that will be on the cover.  If you'd like to know more about my research project at Middlebury, check out the J-Bact page here: .


Now, 2010 is around the corner and I am working as hard as ever. The lab I work in is filled with people who are as excited as I am to study the unknown molecular causes of cancer. The research has a real impact on the future of cancer medicine. Specifically, my project will discover new proteins which cancer cells require to survive but are nonessential to normal cells, making those proteins perfect targets for drug design. After working for 6 months, however, I have begun to realize how hard this research is and how much work is left.

This has inspired me to find other ways to contribute to the battle against cancer. With that, I applied to and was invited to join the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, which means I will be running the 2010 Boston Marathon! With your help, I can achieve the next major goal I have set for myself – to cross the finish line in April with $8,000 raised for the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Basic Innovative Research.

Why raise money for cancer research? Because next year, 1.4 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and more than half a million will pass away from it.  Because more than likely, each of us can name someone who has battled this disease, and unfortunately, most of us know someone who passed away while fighting it.  I am running the Boston Marathon because I believe this is a cause worth fighting for, I know that a cure is possible and I know that we are getting closer.  Most importantly, I know that the cause needs help.

So I am asking for your help – 100% of the money you donate will be directed towards research. Furthermore, I have an idea to help include you in my goal. With your donation, if you wish for me to wear a ribbon with a name on it I would be honored to run that ribbon all 26.2 miles to the finish line. The name can be anyone who you’d like your donation to be in honor or in memory of, and I will proudly wear it on my jersey in April. Don’t fret, if I receive 1000 requests for ribbons I will gladly accept the challenge of running a marathon with all 1000 of them!

It's easy to donate online, just use my fundraising page

Program in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry

McCardell Bicentennial Hall
276 Bicentennial Way
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753