Jennifer Goodman Linn You Fearless

Perry and her book report

As you all know, Cycle for Survival is around the corner.  The remarkable fundraising effort that Jen imagined and developed together with Dave will raise millions of dollars this year - ALL of which will go straight to cancer research.  Every single penny.  I don't think anyone reading this blog needs inspiration around the importance of Cycle, but it never hurts to remind us all why Jen's mission, OUR mission, to eradicate fear and ultimately cancer from the equation is so important.  At the kick-off for Cycle this year, Dave Linn introduced me to a lovely couple - the Zimmermans - and told me about their 11-year old daughter, Perry. Perry is a shining example of the reason we must all redouble our efforts to raise money for Cycle and support research at MSKCC.  A student at The Cathedral School, she often reads the You Fearless blog, spending time with the latest posts and also deriving strength from Jen's original words and videos which fortify Perry during her more challenging moments. She knew and LOVED Jen.  Perry is currently being treated at MSKCC for Osteosarcoma, and her story is nothing short of inspiring. Perry's battle with cancer started literally at birth with Retinoblastoma, which she successfully conquered by the age of one.  Following that victory were more challenges including a brain tumor when she was two. At that point her chances of survival were well less than 10 percent but she persevered.  After being cancer-free for nine years, Perry developed a lump in her leg over the summer.  Several rounds of chemotherapy and a fifteen-hour surgery later, she is doing well and is halfway through her treatment plan.   For a girl in a cast up to her waist with a lot of chemotherapy ahead of her, she is an upbeat, precocious, and optimistic child with three dear siblings who she loves. Perry faces her life with courage at every turn.  In fact, for a school book report, she analyzed her own life in comparison to a book character.  When you read this, you will see what true fearlessness really means.  It is facing one's situation head on, analyzing it, and developing an action plan.   Perry looked at Jen as a hero, but I think after reading this essay from 11-year old Perry, we will all be struck by her bravery and extraordinarily inspiring attitude.

Perry’s book report


In order to compare Brian’s life to mine I would mostly have to state differences, although there are some similarities. I have never been on a private jet, nor have I have lived in the wilderness. I am not an only child like Brian. Those are the differences I can find. Brian and I also have some similarities. Brian is motivated to survive on his own in the woods. For example, after he gets sick from eating gut cherries, he tells himself that things are bad but not that bad. I am motivated to live through this cancer treatment. For me, I got through something worse when I was a baby, so I can get through this. Like Brian, I try to stay positive. Brian is pretty organized in his way of life. He has to be to tell what time of day it is since he has no watch. Brian has to plan his day carefully in order to survive. I am kind of organized with my belongings. I have to be organized in order to know when to come to the hospital. I also have a very detailed schedule to follow. Brian is very courageous when he lands the plane without experience. I am super courageous going through this treatment. These are some of the differences and similarities that we share.

Perry, you inspire me.  And I am certain so many others who will read this will have a similar reaction. Thank you for fearlessly sharing your story. Feel inspired to share your fearless story?  Please email me at  Feel inspired to do something?  Go to - you'll know what to do.  See you at Cycle!
-Janet Balis