The Nutcrackers Ride Again

It has been almost a year since I posted here and a wonderful year it has been.  I remain free of any evidence of disease and a few months ago graduated from getting tested every 3 months to every 6 months which feels great.  I had the privilege of doing a few readings from BLOOM and published an Op-Ed on Father’s Day  about the intersection of cancer and fatherhood.

The most notable event of the last year was the arrival of our second daughter, Iris.  I am often struck these days by the improbable gift of her being, the wondrous emerging personality of her sister, the simple fact that I am breathing and free of pain, and my incredible fortune of having KR as my wife who holds and sustains us in the wide embrace of her heart.  

It is easy to forget in the ceaseless rush of diapers, work, home projects, toddler negotiations, and political upheaval.  It is hard to comprehend the great distance between the bright joy of life now and the experience of lying in a hospital bed at MSK with a collapsed lung, a beaten body, a wavering will and an uncertain future less than 3 years ago.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude when I take it all in.  

One small way I try to remember and honor all that I was given is to be a part of Cycle for Survival.  The Nutcrackers are riding again this year with bikes in NYC, DC, LA and Chicago.  We raise funds for rare cancer research, 100% of which go to research at MSK (including two studies in which I am a subject).  Dr. Darren Feldman, clinical researcher, fellow Nutcracker and my oncologist; puts it best:

Approximately 50% of all cancer patients are fighting a rare cancer. Yet, the rarity of each cancer limits the interest of pharmaceutical companies and other funding organizations from sponsoring research on these diseases. This limits the treatment options available for our patients and increases our dependence on philanthropy to support lifesaving research for these diseases.

Both Jay and Tom participated in clinical trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering that wouldn’t have been possible without philanthropic funding. They were fortunate enough to get into remission but others have been less fortunate, some of whom didn’t have the same clinical trial opportunities that Jay and Tom had. I carry the memories of these young men and women with me every day and am inspired by them as well as Jay and Tom to continue working tirelessly until every patient with this disease can be cured.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support since this journey began and please consider donating so that more may live and so that treatment options can improve.



  1. Kathryn Kirchoff says:

    How can we join the Nutcrackers? Great story on MSKCC facebook page today! We have a similar story and my husband is a patient of Dr. Feldman.

  2. I am a mom of a 17 year old son currently undergoing tx for TC. He just finished chemo at the end of March, and looks like RNPLD scheduled for May.
    Reading your journey is so inspiring. Your baby a blessing and a miracle like dad!!!

    • Thanks for saying hi Wendy and I wish you and your son great healing and strength. If I can support you in any way please let me know.

  3. kirstie benedict says:

    Jay. so weird. i was thinking of you last week and was wondering how you were doing. i, too quit facebook! it’s great, isn’t it? when i saw this email, my first reaction was uh oh …but then all the good news came. i’m so happy for you. i always wonder or sometimes it seems this way …that does one have to truly go through hell to experience real happiness and peace? i believe so but we can only go by our own experiences.

    it was wonderful to meet KR and see old friends a couple years ago at your BLOOM reading at that place in brooklyn was it, was so cool. i still have photos.

    all the continued best to you and KR and growing family. you just need 2 more girls and a boy to keep up with the Benedict’s.


  4. Michele Huggins says:

    So good to see this post and know that you are well! And big congrats on welcoming Iris to the world. We added one to the family in 2015 … Jasper who is now 15 months along with his big brother who is 7 (yep we hit RESET). Your post is a good reminder to appreciate the beauty in the chaos. Cheers my friend. ~Michele

  5. Christy Kennedy says:

    This is great news and thank you for the update!

  6. Xoxoxoxoxo

  7. Awesome Great news ALL around Jay.. Best from me and Maria and hello to KR and the kids.. OK here it is JERSEY SHORE INVITE ( me and Maria have a week ) July 29 2PM through Aug 5 BE THERE the kids will LOVE it walking distance from Beach Long Beach Island NJ .Come visit for a couple of days-nights…. My cell 2018356435, hope to chat soon…Maria also doing wonderful…

  8. ‘Gifts’ all around this past year. Welcome Iris!

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