Renee Heffron explains why she is running for the MassGeneral Marathon Team Fighting Kids’ Cancer . . . One Step at a Time.
Q&A with marathon runner Renee Heffron
Runners Lisa Conti and Renee Heffron with patient partner Olivia
Q: What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Renee Heffron and I live in Lynnfield, MA.
Q: Why did you choose to run the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children?
I am turning 40 in April and thought there was no better way to celebrate a milestone birthday than to run the Boston Marathon in support of childhood cancer. I love to run, I ran Boston twice unofficially. I’m excited to be able to run in support of the worthiest cause and be an official runner. I love children (we have three boys) and this will be wonderful for my boys to see me do something like this for Olivia, my patient partner, and to show support for children battling cancer and the medical professionals helping them in that battle. We donate every year to childhood cancer but now I’m privileged to be a part of a team that runs the race and raises money. Not only will I benefit from doing this, but my family will also be affected in such a special way.
Q: What kind of experience do you have as a runner?
I have been a runner since 1986. I ran cross country and track for Stoneham High School and Westfield State College, where I also coached after graduating. I then continued to run for exercise and occasionally ran road races, anywhere from 5K races to half marathons and the Boston Marathon in 1995 and 1997.
Q: What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon?
My most memorable moment in preparation for the Boston Marathon has been simply running outside in any kind of weather… I just seem to go. We have had the most amazing running weather so far, but I did encounter a terrible rainstorm during a 13-mile run one lovely Friday morning. I was amazed that it didn’t bother me at all and I just kept going. My thoughts remained on Olivia, thinking about what she has gone through since 2010. Olivia is 100% my inspiration to run the distance and train as I have been.
Q: What have you learned about your patient partner and what makes her special?
I met Olivia in early February. She is the sweetest little girl I have ever seen. Olivia’s smile melted my heart; she is so adorable. Olivia does not come across as a 3-year-old at all. She is a big fan of the Nickelodeon television show iCarly and the band Big Time Rush. Olivia adores her younger sister Chloe and her mom tells me she loves playing with her.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about marathon day?
On the Marathon Monday, I am most looking forward to seeing Olivia and her family at Mile 20, along with my family and all the Mass General families. I cannot wait to get a big hug from Olivia that will continue me on to the finish line. I actually get tears thinking about it.
The Mass General Marathon Team has raised more than $6 million in support of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children Cancer Center.
We respect that the family is the center of a child’s life and we welcome families to participate in every aspect of their child’s care.