Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mass General Marathon Team Runners Inspired by Their Patient-Partners

With temperatures in the upper 80s and heat advisory warnings, the 116th running of the Boston Marathon will go down as one of the warmest race days ever. For runners, the unexpected weather added another challenge to the 26.2-mile course — staying safe and healthy during the event.

Most of the 130 runners on the Mass General Marathon Team chose to run despite the weather. Family members, friends and children who participate in the Patient-Partner program which matches children with cancer with runners, gathered at mile 20 in Newton to show their support. When Howard Weinstein, MD, a cancer doctor at Mass General, arrived at mile 20, he was greeted with cheers. He began the hospital’s marathon team 15 years ago and runs each year.

At the stop, volunteers passed out water and children and teens sold lemonade and slush to raise additional funds for the childhood cancer program.

As team members passed the blue-and-yellow sign that marked mile 20 — some running, some proudly walking — many smiled or raised their hands in triumph. They were near their goal of reaching the finish line, and they had each raised at least $5,000 to help children fighting cancer. The Child-Life Program within the Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, which helps patients and families to cope, benefits from the funds, as does pediatric cancer research.

Mass General runners receive their numbers through a partnership with John Hancock Financial. Since the team was established, members have raised more that $7.5 million to support Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

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