Barrington 80-year-old finishes Boston Marathon

Updated 10/7/2011 12:08 AM

Joan Abboud of Barrington Hills just completed her 10th Boston Marathon.

That's right, the 80-year old mother of Barrington Hills President Robert Abboud, and wife of former First Chicago Chairman Robert Abboud, completed the course like she always does -- by walking.


On Sept. 18, Abboud and a college friend took part in the 23rd annual Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. It was the 23rd year for the event, which follows the same course as the premiere run in April, though its more than 9,000 participants take a more leisurely approach.

This year's event raised more than $7.5 million for cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, which is affiliated with Harvard University.

The Jimmy Fund dates back to 1948, when members of the Boston Red Sox raised money for a 12-year-old patient of Dr. Sidney Farber -- the cancer institute's founder -- who had been diagnosed with cancer but could not afford treatment.

Their first appeal, made during a national radio broadcast of "Truth or Consequences," netted more than $200,000. Since then, the Jimmy Fund has raised more than $750 million for cancer treatments and cures.

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Abboud, a Boston native, said she likes to do the event each year because she knows that 100 percent of its proceeds benefit the cause. With Hyundai as its presenting sponsor and other corporations picking up logistical costs, such as lunch for the walkers, she knows that none of the contributions go toward overhead expenses.

"That's why I do it," Abboud said. "I know that every penny goes toward fighting cancer."

Completing the grueling course takes all day, Abboud said, noting that increasingly it appears that the other participants are getting younger.

But she pledges to continue to do it each year, because it brings her back to her Boston roots and enables her to participate in the worldwide fight against cancer.

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