Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Peabody Woman Running Boston Marathon in Memory of Preschooler

Marcos “Markie” Luis Santana

When Kendra Patterson, of Peabody, found her old high school friend Angela Hamilton-Bouknight on Facebook she was hoping to find a reprieve from her own troubles; instead, she got some much needed perspective.

It was 2007, approximately a year after Hamilton-Bouknight’s son, Marcos “Markie” Luis Santana, was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a solid tumor cancer most common in infants. The three-year-old was undergoing treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children (MGHfC), but he remained bright and eager. Through daily status updates and messages, Hamilton-Bouknight shared with Patterson the details of Markie’s life as well as her own struggles.

“Markie and his family’s struggles put my own issues into sharp perspective,” Patterson said. “I signed on each day, learning lessons about strength, courage, faith and – most importantly – the power of love. It was through him that I learned the invaluable lesson of living each day to its fullest potential.”

Markie dreamed of turning “a whole hand” (5 years old) and going to Water Country, New England’s largest water park. Unfortunately, neither of Markie’s dreams came true. He died on August 26, 2007, just two months short of his fifth birthday.

Patterson always wished she could have done more for Markie and his mother. In 2011, she decided to go cheer on the runners of the Boston Marathon for the first time. The experience left her awestruck, and she was determined to make the 2012 Boston Marathon her first marathon. She decided her best recourse was to find a team with a charity that she was passionate about.

A paramedic, Patterson was on a routine emergency call at Mass General when she met a nurse who had run for the Mass General Marathon Team. Inspired, Patterson called Hamilton-Bouknight and asked if she could run for Markie.

“She said that it would be a wonderful tribute to her little boy,” Patterson said. “Markie fought with such courage, dignity, and above all else a determination to never give up. I want to share that message – Never Give Up – with as many people as possible.”

Patterson has made it her mission to raise as much money as possible in honor of Markie and to help other children and families struggling with cancer. On Sunday, April 1, she will hold Miles For Markie a 5k raise at Endicott Park in Danvers, MA. All the proceeds will go to the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Unit at MGHfC.  

The race has a $20 advance entrance fee and $24 the day of the event. It’s split into several categories by age, with the overall male and female winners receiving awards. The first 100 entrants will receive t-shirts. For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/MilesforMarkie.

Learn more about Patterson or donate at www.crowdrise.com/massgeneralmarathon/fundraiser/kendrapatterson.

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