Giving Back by Running for Research

A survivor rallies coworkers to support the American Association for Cancer Research.

Mandi Da Silva was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin lymphoma in 2006 when she was just 25 years old.

Naturally, Mandi was stunned by the diagnosis, but after spending a brief time feeling sorry for herself – "I freaked out" – she focused on getting the treatment she needed. After eight months of chemotherapy and two months of radiation therapy, the Toronto native’s cancer was put into remission.

Around that time she learned of a job opening at VisualSonics, a division of FujiFilm that makes ultrasound imaging equipment. When an opportunity opened to join the team that presented the equipment at trade shows and conferences, Mandi jumped at the chance.

Soon she found herself attending medical and scientific conferences, including the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting. At first, because of her history with cancer, Mandi found it difficult to attend the AACR meetings. That changed when she met another Hodgkin lymphoma survivor.

"She told me she was an advocate for childhood cancer patients and suggested I think about the AACR meeting in a different way," Mandi recalled. "She explained that AACR conferences are about finding cures and how research helps cure these diseases."

That conversation stuck with Mandi and she decided that she was ready to give back by supporting the efforts of the AACR to advance lifesaving cancer research. Growing up, Mandi had always been an athlete, playing soccer in high school and collage as well as being active outdoors. But she was never a runner.

Nevertheless, in 2017, Mandi joined the AACR Runners for Research team and participated in the 5K at the AACR Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., raising more than $2,000 for cancer research.

"I feel the emotional impact of what I went through [as a cancer patient] when I am running. I am pushing through it, I am surviving all over again," she said. "It is so emotional. I feel inspired to be part of something that gives back to help others going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment."

At the 2018 AACR Annual Meeting in Chicago, Mandi participated in the 5K again. In fact, she inspired several of her colleagues at VisualSonics to join in the run and raised another $2,500.

Mandi’s goal is to keep running and build an even bigger team with her colleagues to support the lifesaving work of the AACR.

Last year the AACR provided over $64 million in grants and awards funding lifesaving cancer research. There are many ways you can support our mission to prevent and cure all cancers. Take Action

The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is a 501c3 registered nonprofit organization with offices at 615 Chestnut Street, 17th Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19106 | 215.440.9300