Friday, May 10, 2013

Thousands help to heal ‘invisible wounds of war’ at Home Base event


HOPE AND HEALING: The MGH for Heroes team raised more than $33,000 for the Home Base Program.

Some 2,000 runners and walkers – including hundreds of active duty military members – gathered at Fenway Park on May 4 to support clinical care, education and research to help Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families heal from post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.

The fourth annual Run-Walk to Home Base presented by New Balance raised $1.9 million for the Red Sox Foundation and the MGH Home Base Program, bringing its total to more than $9 million. The 9K run and three-mile walk started and ended in Fenway Park, with all participants having a timed finish at the iconic Green Monster and a “photo finish” at home plate, where they also are greeted by military, Red Sox and MGH leaders. As part of the opening ceremonies, a dozen members of the Massachusetts National Guard were recognized for their efforts as first responders at the scene of the Boston Marathon attacks on Patriots Day.

“This year’s run was even more meaningful in the wake of last month’s Boston Marathon and the senseless violence that followed,” said Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner. “Our service men and women sacrifice so much so we can be safe at home. Sadly, the traumas they experience are now the same ones affecting many of those who were injured during the Marathon bombings. It only heightens the urgency for the groundbreaking research that brilliant physicians and researchers are working on right now at Mass General.”

During the past three years, Home Base has provided clinical care and support services to more than 500 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families and educated some 6,000 clinicians throughout the U.S. about post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and the challenges faced by military families. Home Base also is engaged in cutting-edge research to improve treatment for these conditions.

“Fewer than 1 percent of Americans serve in the military, but in the wake of the terrible Patriots Day bombing, all Bostonians have a better understanding of the dangers and challenges our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans face every day on the battlefield as well as the anxiety our military families feel when a loved one is in harm’s way,” said MGH President Peter L. Slavin, MD. “The need to heal these ‘invisible wounds’ of war, which affect one in every three veterans, is more urgent than ever.”

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