Much has changed since the running of the original marathon in 490 B.C. by Greek soldier, Pheidippides, who ran 24 miles to deliver a message from the town of Marathon to Athens. Today, more than 800 marathons, each spanning 26.2 miles, are held throughout the world every year. On April 20, Boston hosted its own celebrated marathon for a mass of more than 23,000 runners.
Finishing the footrace requires mental endurance as well as physical stamina, and many athletes find their inspiration to keep moving one foot in front of the other by running for a cause close to their heart. This year, 113 runners took to the course to benefit MassGeneral for Children’s (MGHfC) Cancer Care Fund, while another 18 ran to raise support for MGH cystic fibrosis care and research. Seven marathoners ran the race to benefit the MGH Thomas S. Durant, MD,
Fellowship in Refugee Medicine.
“I absolutely love running, and finishing the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children helped me work some purpose into what I already enjoy and at the same time gave me an opportunity to express my gratitude,” says 51-year-old Mark Meche, who ran his second Boston Marathon to benefit MGHfC’s Cancer Care Fund. Meche’s 8-year-old son Alexander was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia three years ago and has been receiving treatment at the hospital.
“I am grateful to the MGHfC pedi hematology-oncology team for saving my son’s life and treating the whole child, not just the cancer. In fact, in a way, they treated our whole family.”
Many others also finished the race with inspiration from their MGH caregivers. Brothers Dan and Don Davis ran the marathon only one year after Don had donated one of his kidneys to his brother. Before the race, they stopped by the hospital to ask MGH Transplant Center clinicians and counselors to sign the shirts they wore during the race.
“Without their support none of this would have been possible,” says Don. “We think about all those people who are waiting for an organ and really appreciate the care we received at Mass General so that we could run the marathon. The day of the race was only one year and five days since the transplant. We hope our run encourages those who are waiting for an organ and hope others will decide to be an organ or tissue donor.”
Although their legs and feet may be tired from the long journey, these athletes shared their achievement with and made a lasting difference for countless patients and their families, clinicians, caregivers and researchers. For more information about this year’s MGHfC Boston Marathon team, contact Amy Flynn, Development Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org.