Monday, March 31, 2014

Q&A with marathon runner Aura Obando, MD

Image of marathon runner Aura Obando, and patient partner Lizany, age 5, Leukemia
Aura Obando, MD, running for Lizany, age 5, leukemia.

Q: What is your name?

A: Aura Obando

Q: Where are you from?

A: I was born in Colombia where I lived until I was 9, and then I moved to West Hartford, CT, where my family still lives.  I now live in Somerville, MA.

Q: What is your role at Massachusetts General Hospital?

A: I’m a 4th year resident in the Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program.

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

A: I’ve been caring for the pediatric oncology patients for four years and have become invested in their stories.  As I approached my graduation, I knew it might be my last opportunity to run with the team, and as running a marathon was already a life-long goal of mine, it seemed like the perfect opportunity and motivation to keep up with the training despite having a busy schedule. I was also in the Emergency Room last year during the bombings, and I made a vow to run the Boston Marathon that day.

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

A:  I ran track and cross-country in high school, and subsequently ran for fun. The most I have run before starting my training was a half-marathon.

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

A: Running for me is a meditative time to reflect and process the day. I had largely given up running as a resident due to a hectic schedule, and it’s been a wonderful rediscovery. I’m reminded each time I’m out on the road how much I love having that time to think. I enjoy the fresh air (even on really cold days!), the escape and the camaraderie with other runners.

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

A: Reconnecting with my patient partner Lizany and her family has been the most special aspect of my marathon journey. I met Lizany and her brother as an intern when they were both very sick, and to be able to see them now, thriving and healthy, has been incredibly rewarding. I never imagined they would serve as such motivation for me to persevere with the training. My family and friends have also been moved by their story, and as a result, I have an extended circle of support. They are cheering me on as I run in honor of Lizany and her courageous family.

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

A: Lizany has a spunky personality. She lets her wishes be heard, which I love. She likes pink, frilly things, and is really active and curious. She met David Ortiz last year, and from the sounds of it, she was quite shy with him. I guess he didn’t know all it takes is a tiara and fairy princess wand to win her over!

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

A: I can’t wait to run a course that is lined with people cheering runners on from start to finish. It sounds so incredibly fun! It’s a Boston tradition, and I can’t wait to take part in it!

Back to Top