Lt. Max Maguire has served in the U.S. Navy for the last six years, but now he is gearing up for a different kind of mission: the Boston Marathon. On April 15, Maguire will run in support of Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and MGH Program – an organization close to his heart.
“In 2011, when I was a senior in college, my brother Connor was deployed to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, as a rifle infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines,” says Maguire. “He was involved in two separate improvised explosive device attacks during his time overseas – only four weeks apart.” The second attack left his brother with a traumatic brain injury and earned him a Purple Heart medal.
“Connor made it home in one piece, but at times it’s been a real struggle for him and those close to him,” Maguire says. “There have been some incredibly difficult challenges, but thanks to support from friends, family and outstanding medical care – including from Home Base – my brother continues to recover from his injuries.”
Although Connor’s story has been one of triumph, both brothers are keenly aware that others are not as fortunate. “Too many people close to Connor have taken their own lives as a result of the invisible wounds of war,” says Maguire. “My strongest hope is that his success can be the reality for everyone living with these wounds – and that they know care is available for them at Home Base.”
Twenty veterans die by suicide every day, and one in three return home with an invisible wound such as traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The invisible wounds of war are complex injuries that require innovative solutions, and that’s what we are trying to do at Home Base and Mass General,” says retired Brig. Gen. Jack Hammond, executive director of Home Base. “We are grateful to have a team of dedicated runners this year who are committed to our mission and dedicated to giving back to those who have served our country.”
In addition to the Home Base, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, and Emergency Response teams – sponsored by John Hancock – runners also will support the Run for MGH team, which raises funds for hospital programs close to their hearts, including Caring for a Cure, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, the Lurie Center for Autism, and the Mootha Lab.
“In September 1970, my aunt, Mary Elizabeth Brennan, passed away as a result of a medulloblastoma at 10 years old. Her death had a lasting impact on my family, and the scars of her loss still exist today. As someone who has always wanted to run a marathon, I wanted to run on behalf of an organization that I had some kind of connection with. I couldn’t be more honored that my first marathon will be here in Boston, a city that I’ve called home for the past five years, and on behalf of an organization as amazing as Mass General.” –Ashlinn Brennan, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Team, first marathon
“Every mile I run is a challenge. But this challenge pales in comparison to what other veterans and service members with invisible wounds of war have to deal with on a daily basis. I have very much enjoyed the structure, camaraderie, team spirit and the pride of serving others; and I’m running this race so my fellow service members, veterans and their family members can receive the care and support they need at Home Base.” –Army Maj. Vanessa Stolzoff, Home base Team, first marathon
“The primary reason I chose to run for MGH is because of my mother, Nancy Cameron. Nancy is a breast cancer survivor with her first battle occurring over 20 years ago. She finalized her treatments in May 2017 and continues to enjoy good health, all thanks to MGH. I could think of no better marathon team to join than the hospital that kept my mother alive and gave her the ability to fight another day.” –Patrick Cameron, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Team, first marathon
“I am a lifelong runner, and a scientist developing novel therapeutics for rare diseases to help patients. I am thrilled for this opportunity to be running in support of a greater cause, the MGH Emergency Response Team. To me, representing this team is a combination of my runner and scientist nature. Every second matters in saving lives, much like every step matters in running a marathon. The distance is long, and there is no shortcut. You just have to face it and run it step by step until passing the finish line.” –Wei-Chiang Chen, Emergency Response Team, fifth marathon
Read more articles from the 04/05/19 Hotline issue.