Crossing the finish line of a marathon is a feat in itself, but completing the race and supporting a good cause is a triumph times two. Despite one of the hottest Boston Marathons on record, 121 of the 130 athletes registered to run in support of MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) were at the starting line April 16 and more than 90 percent finished the grueling 26.2-mile course.
The total runners included 122 raising funds for pediatric oncology, four participating on behalf of cystic fibrosis care and research, and for the first time, four marathoners who ran in support of pediatric palliative care. Donations are still pouring in for the entire group, which already has raised more than $500,000.
Many of the runners raising funds for pediatric oncology on the Mass General Marathon Team, “Fighting Kids’ Cancer... One Step at a Time,” were paired with oncology patients to inspire them along their journey from Hopkinton to Copley Square. In partnership with John Hancock Financial Services, the pediatric oncology team has raised more than $7.5 million since it was formed in 1998 by Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of the MGHfC Hematology-Oncology Unit.
“I can’t think of a more meaningful experience than running the marathon to honor one of my patients and to raise money to support our childhood cancer program at MGHfC,” says Weinstein, who ran his 22nd marathon this year.
It was the first Boston Marathon for Jenna Norton, a staff assistant for the MGH Center for Regenerative Medicine. “The heat was not as hard on me as I’m originally from Texas, but I was surprised by the support from spectators. At every half mile we found neighbors with ice, water hoses and water cups taking their holiday time to support the runners. It was very heartwarming and gave me the motivation to finish.” Norton ran in memory of her father, who died of cancer four years ago. For more information or to apply for the 2013 team, visit http://give.massgeneral.org/marathon. To view more photos from the event, visit www.facebook.com/mghfc.
Read more articles from the 4/20/12 Hotline issue.