Monday, March 18, 2013

Q&A with marathon runner Karin Sachs Wood

Karin Sachs Wood, running for Ronnie, age 8, brain tumor

Karin Sachs Wood, running for Ronnie, age 8, brain tumor

Q: Where are you from?

A: I grew up in Maryland, moved to Massachusetts in high school with a stopover in Sweden along the way!

Q: What is your role at Massachusetts General Hospital?

A: I am a friend and fan of the hospital.  My sister and father are both doctors at Mass General so it is part of my life. 

Q: Why did you choose to run the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children?

A: The knowledge that the money raised for this goes directly to helping patients and their families was incredibly compelling.  My sister has told me about the amazing things that are being done to treat patients as well as research that is advancing science, and that is what motivated me to run the marathon for the Mass General.

Q: What kind of experience do you have as a runner?

A: I play/played many sports and running is a central part of any sport, but running as a sport was not something I cared for.  About 6 years ago I started running for sport; training, competing and tracking my progress.  I have done a few half marathons but never a marathon. 

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

A: The feeling of besting myself. Running farther or faster than I have before.   In fact, my training for the marathon has been just that, adding one more mile every week. I am up to 21 miles now and that is incredible for me.  

Also, the fact that I can run.  Many people can’t. I often think about the fact that my circumstances allow me to do this for myself and now for others.  When I am feeling tired or like I want to stop, I think about how fortunate I am and I better darn well get myself out there and do it.

I realize I am lucky and I like the notion that I can run for something greater than myself.  

Q: What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon?

A: I think that the most memorable moment for me, other than meeting Ronnie and his family, was the first time I said, “I am running the marathon on behalf of MassGeneral Hospital for Children”.  It was actually before I officially signed up and was chosen but in hearing myself say it, I believed it and that is when I signed up.

I also think the support I have received from family and friends has been surprising and inspiring.  From family members taking care of my three children while I train, to work friends sending me articles and apps that might help me in my training, I have received more support than I could have imagined. 

Q: What have you learned about your patient partner and what makes him special?

A: Ronnie is a beautiful young boy.  Like any other 8 year old, he is interested in sports, x-box and TV.  My 6 year old son had a playdate with him. I watched how they played together and aside from my knowing that he is has a brain tumor, there is nothing about his attitude, his demeanor or his behavior that would indicate he has any more on his mind than a typical 8 year old boy.  It is a very special person that can live their life normally given those circumstances. He comes across as happy with life and that energy and positive attitude rubs off on those around him.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about marathon day?

A: Honestly, seeing Ronnie and his family at mile 20. This marathon started as a personal challenge and it has grown to be much more.  Ronnie and his family, and all of the Mass General staff and supporters have made this race much more meaningful for me. 

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I truly appreciate the opportunity to do this.  In my line of work, I don’t always have the opportunity to feel as though what I am doing is truly making a difference and here is one small way I can.  I look at what Mass General Hospital for Children does for kids and their families and I am in awe.  The love, dedication and passion that is evident in everything I see, hear and experience is palpable. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in this greater mission.

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