Using Social Media To Support Cancer Research

In November 2007 I launched an (ongoing) experiment to develop a “best-practice social media 101 training program” using online tools.

Today I’m launching another experiment. This one’s more personal. While the last idea experiment worked with the online community to develop a resource for everyone’s benefit, this time it has a wider goal – helping people battling cancer.

On April 21, 2008, I will run the Boston Marathon for the first time. As I do so, I will raise money for breast cancer research at the world-class Princess Margaret Hospital in Canada.

Why cancer research?

My family has a recurring history with cancer. My gran and my aunt both lost their lives to it. Another family member had a run-in but survived. A close family friend passed away through it. Several friends of mine are currently battling cancer.

Everywhere I look, people are fighting this disease. I want to help.

What am I doing?

Mississauga MarathonI’ve completed the 60km Walk to End Breast Cancer twice, raising over $5,000 for charity, but I wanted a new challenge. So, instead of walking 60km in two days I’ll run 42km in just over three hours.

The Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon and one of the world’s most prestigious road racing events.

Besides the Olympic trials and the Olympic marathons, Boston is the only major American marathon that requires a qualifying time. For me, that meant running a marathon in under 3 hours and 10 minutes. I knocked almost half an hour off my previous best time to qualify.

To give an indication of how tough the training is, I wear through a pair of top-of-the-range running shoes every 4-6 weeks. For extra spice, I decided to run a different route every time I do a training run – quite the challenge.

So where’s the online part?

After qualifying for the race, I started my training for the Boston Marathon in late 2007. At the same time I began writing about the ups and downs at Since then I’ve written or recorded almost 200 posts.

I’m using the site to create a detailed record of my training for this race:

Where do you come in?

I said it at the beginning – I’m doing this to raise money for cancer research, but I can’t do it alone. So, I invite you to join me.

Sponsor me as I run the Boston Marathon, and join the fight against cancer.

Update: If you’d like to donate, please choose “Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research,” when prompted for who to donate to. That’s the breast cancer research institute for the Princess Margaret Hospital.

Update: The fundraiser is now over. Together we raised nearly $2,400 for cancer research. Amazing.

(cross-posted to

Dave Fleet
Managing Director and Head of Global Digital Crisis at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.