Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Boston Marathoner's Experience Changes Entire Family's Perspective

In search of training motivation, first time Boston Marathon runner Jamie Bogosian didn’t need to look far. Within days of starting her job as a pediatric nurse on Ellison 17 in June 2015, she was overcome with the resiliency and bravery each child showed during difficult hospitalizations. One patient – a small, 2-year-old undergoing chemotherapy -  stood out and the two forged a quick friendship. “She had a smile that could brighten my day, and the most loving, appreciative parents. She learned my name and started to recognize who I was, and would smile when I walked into her room. I looked forward to seeing her, knowing that if I could make her laugh, I was doing something right.”

When Bogosian learned of the Mass General Marathon Team Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time, she knew she’d found a way to help her current and future patients. Marathon funds support MGH’s child life program, which helps children and families manage the stress and challenges of cancer and hospital stays, and research aimed at understanding of the genetic pathways that will lead to more effective therapies.

Jamie Bogosian and her patient partner Kyler Hockney
At the MGHfC pre-marathon pasta dinner, Jamie presented her patient partner, Kyler Hockney, with a marathon medal.

 

Although she considered herself a runner, training for a marathon has once seemed impossible, but her new perspective changed that.

On April 17, Bogosian took to the Boston Marathon’s grueling 26.2-mile course. While she didn’t have time goal set, she was surprised at how much the crowds carried her through when she started to tire. Her parents, Judy and Craig, waited anxiously alongside MGH staff, patients and families at Mile 20, the epicenter of MGH’s cheering section. In a letter to Dr. Howard Weinstein, chief of pediatric hematology and oncology and captain of the MGHfC marathon team, Judy says, “The love, support and camaraderie was contagious all around. Everlasting friendships were formed and lives were touched forever (at least mine was!).” She goes on, below, to state what life-changing experience her daughter’s participation has been for the entire family.

Dr. Weinstein,

I just wanted to write you a quick letter to let you know how much I enjoyed being a part of the MGH Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Marathon “team.”

When my daughter Jamie told me she was going to run in the 2017 Boston Marathon, I was in disbelief. Sure, she had fun a few half-marathons but nothing like the prestigious Boston Marathon. But, when she told me she was running for pediatric cancer patients at MGH, it became crystal clear.

As Jamie began her rigorous training I would ask her, “How do you do it, especially based on your crazy work schedule?” Her response was always, “I just think of all the children who need a cure and it motivates me like nothing else could.”

I personally witnessed that motivation this weekend at the Pasta Dinner at the Seaport Hotel and at your home in Newton on Marathon Monday. Getting the opportunity to meet the patients, their sponsors and families at the dinner was inspiring. Hearing how the program has grown from 10 runners to more than 100 runners is inspiring, and the more than $12 million raised to cure cancer is inspiring, yet alone miraculous!

Watching Marathon Monday at Mile 20 with the MGH families was the “icing on the cake.” The love, support and camaraderie was contagious all around. Everlasting friendships were formed and lives were touched forever (at least mine was!)

Jamie knew reaching “Mile 20” was going to be a huge motivating factor and we all proved her right. Heartbreak Hill couldn’t that away from her!

So, Dr. Weinstein, thank you, thank you for all you do for MGH, and especially the Pediatric cancer team and events! It will be remembered as one of the best weekends of my life, and I felt the need to let you know how much I appreciate being part of it.

Best regards,
Judy Bogosian

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