Friday, March 23, 2012

Q&A with marathon runner Marisa Levine

Q: What is your name?

Marisa Levine.

Q: Where are you from?

Brookline, MA.

Q: What is your role at Massachusetts General Hospital?

Development associate.

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

I’m running in memory of my college friend, Eric, who gave leukemia a serious fight before he passed away in 2008. He was a runner, and an active advocate and fundraiser for cancer research and care. He also spent a lot of time with the younger patients during his treatment, and spoke to classrooms about his experience with cancer. His family and friends continue to champion the cause, and it’s a way to honor Eric’s memory. MGHfC is giving patients the best chance at long and healthy lives, and the discoveries taking place, the care available and the talented and compassionate staff here are amazing.

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

I only started running in the spring of 2010, and this is my first marathon after lots of shorter races and two half marathons. I decided to give this a shot after watching friends and coworkers train and it’s been awesome so far.

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

I know my friend Eric would be proud that I’m taking on this challenge—he was all about pushing himself, going on new adventures, and making an impact, and my marathon is a tribute to him.

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

I’ve loved exploring the city as I go on my long runs, and the sense of accomplishment crossing off a crazy number of miles on a weekend morning is fantastic. Fundraising has also been really great—I’m so grateful for the support of friends, family and coworkers for this important cause. There have been some wonderful moments big and small, but I’ve really enjoyed it all—the running, the fundraising and the patient partner program are all such important aspects of the MGHfC marathon experience.

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

Lizany and her family are truly remarkable—they’re so loving and positive in the face of the many health challenges Lizany has faced. Lizany is turning 3 this spring, and since Jordan and I met her and her family at the Storybook Ball in 2011, it’s amazing to see her grow up and get healthier. She loves coloring and stuffed animals, and still carries the pink sequined bag she took to Storybook Ball! Our colleague, Jessica, also has a special relationship with Lizany’s family and is our translator-- since our Spanish is mediocre at best—but Lizany and her mom are so patient with us!

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

I’ve heard the Wellesley Scream Tunnel is unbelievable, and the finish line is what I’ll be focused on all day, but I’m so excited to get to Mile 20 and see all of the patient partners and Mass General staff, friends and family

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