Michael Patrick Davidson

The Hope Gala

As I strive to complete my 40th Marathon in 2024, I am dedicating this milestone and running the NYC Marathon on November 3 to conquer childhood cancer with The Hope Gala, led by an amazing team of passionate and talented advocates, alumni & honorary Nittany Lions from the hallowed halls of Penn State.

Courage, Wisdom, Honesty & Strength – These are the Four Virtues that anchor The Hope Gala’s Mission and are demonstrated by countless children that battle various forms of cancer so early in their lives. Since I began running marathons and fundraising in 1997, I remain faithfully drawn to causes that touch those in my life. When I met Mike McHugh, he was a Sophomore at Penn State and interviewing for an Intern position on my team at Bank of America. Needless to say, Mike was a core member of my team from 2010 – 2022, including our journey at JPMorgan Chase and despite living with the challenges of Arthrogryposis, Mike has traveled the world, is a talented and instrumental leader and thinker in the workplace and a steadfast advocate for others.

The Hope Gala and fighting childhood cancer is a cause that has been in Mike’s heart since he was a student and this year he urged me to run the 2024 NYC Marathon to join this fight, raise vital funds and our most precious shared commodity, Hope. Cancer is around every corner. My last NYC Marathon was in 2021 when we raised funds and awareness for Ovarian Cancer at the enthusiastic behest of Geske Simons, another member of my team, who cheered that day on the streets of NYC and yet passed away in May 2023 after her long arduous battle. To then reflect on my mother who succumbed to Stage IV Colorectal Cancer that had metastasized to her liver and lungs in 2021, I remain emboldened to fight cancer in all of its forms, especially for children.

Each of us, no matter our race, origin, faith or gender, has a heart that beats, pumps and gives us life from the time we are a mere six weeks old in a mother’s womb and thirty weeks before birth when we take our first breath in this world. The heart represents life, love, hope, courage and the core of the human spirit. So resilient yet ever fragile, our hearts may be broken and healed in many ways large and small over the course of our lives. As we are reminded by the Wizard of Oz, while hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable, a heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others; perhaps the greatest inheritance we can give our children. 2024 is dedicated to fueling heroic research, technology and advocacy to eradicate childhood cancer, championing the heart of mind, body and soul, heralding life itself.

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