Off Topic: My Jimmy Fund Walk Against Cancer

Today I participated in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This is the third year that I walked 13 miles along the Boston Marathon route for this great cause (look at the post I wrote about last year’s walk). As I mentioned in my post “Something More Important Than Customer Experience,” I walk to honor the memory of my sister who died of cancer when she was only 38.

The day started when our friends piled into our car for a short ride to the starting point. One of our neighbors, a doctor at Dana-Farber, barely made it on time because he was seeing patients. We joined up with my in-laws and other members of our group, Amy’s Admirers, which has raised more than $500,000 over the past 6 years. The group is led by Peggy Grodd who does an unbelievable job of making the 60+ walkers on our team all feel special. She and her husband Arthur provide shirts, sweatshirts, a pre-walk party, and buses to transport many of the people from Western Massachusetts. Maybe more importantly, they provide enormous spirit.

It turned out to be a beautiful, sunny day, so the walk was very pleasant. There was the usual mob of both walkers (more than 8,000) and volunteers (more than 700). The Jimmy Fund does a great job of providing refreshments and rest areas all along the way. And they very effectively remind us why we’re walking with pictures like this on the route…

I really like doing this walk. While there are many, many stories about people like my sister who lost their battle with cancer, the mood is not somber. Instead, it’s all about celebration. Nearly 10,000 people collectively celebrating hope. That’s what brings us together. Not the sadness of love ones lost, but the hope of saving so many more in the future.

So I feel full of thanks. Thanks to people like my neighbor who dedicate their careers to fighting cancer. Thanks to people like Peggy Grodd who selflessly organize teams like Amy’s Admirers. Thanks to all of my donors who gave their money to a great cause. Thanks to my son who made this walk for the 4th year. Thanks to my wife and daughter who’s help made it possible for us to walk. Thanks to my in-laws and all of the other walkers and volunteers who demonstrate the amazing power of hope.

The bottom line: Every dollar counts, so click on this URL if you’d like to donate:

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I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

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