He is one of the lucky ones, and nobody is more aware of that than Salem resident Craige Hird, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia when he was only seven years old. The survival rate for children was very low back in the 1980’s, but Hird survived and now wants to give back to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Jimmy Fund.
Hird is one of around 500 people on the Dana-Farber team that will run the B.A.A. Half Marathon on Sunday. Today he is healthy and in his 29th year of remission. At the time he was diagnosed, Hird and his family were living in Maine. He was treated at the Children’s Cancer Center in Maine, and his doctors conferred with physicians at Dana-Farber, sometimes on a daily basis for the year and a half he underwent treatment.
“I grew up in the little town of Woolwich, which is located outside of Bath (Maine), and I was eight- years old when I got sick,” said Hird, who has lived in Salem for the past four years. “The survival rate was under 20 percent at that time so I realize how lucky I am to be one of the few that survived. It was a frightening time, and I lost many friends, who were being treated when I was.
“I feel amazing now, and I’m excited about everything. This is something I can do to raise money for a such good cause. Cancer touches everybody. I just lost my aunt to cancer, and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do something to help. I got the leaflet about the race right after she was diagnosed. I have the ability to give back to this wonderful place that has helped not only me but so many others. I know my doctors in Maine held conferences with doctors at Dana-Farber on a weekly basis or even more often when necessary.”