“What I’ve learned is that running a marathon isn’t about running a marathon. It’s about how determined you are to finish something you started. It’s about testing yourself and figuring out what you’re made of and how far you can push yourself. It’s about taking something that is said to be impossible and making it possible.”

These are some of the core lessons that Brian Soucy has learned from past runners, his own training and from family. Soucy will be running his first marathon this year as part of the Mass General Emergency Response Marathon Team. Money raised helps provide critical support for emergency care, disaster relief and disaster preparedness teaching and training at the MGH efforts–that benefit victims worldwide.

“One of the main reasons I want my first marathon to be the Boston Marathon is because I was at the finish line on the day of the bombing,” Soucy says. “My cousin’s husband was running, and we were there cheering him on. He was about two miles from the finish line when the bombs exploded. I will never forget the look on my nephew’s face when it happened. It was and will always be a moment in our lives that none of us will ever forget.”

After ensuring his family was safe, Soucy – a firefighter EMT at the time – returned to the finish line to help in any way he could. The following year, his cousin’s husband again ran – and this time completed – the Boston Marathon. He then challenged Soucy to run the following year. It was a challenge Soucy happily accepted.

“Life got in the way and I was unable to run the marathon for the last few years. I am more than ready now and can’t wait to take on the challenge,” says Soucy. “The reason I chose the MGH Emergency Response Team is because, out of all the patients the hospital received from the bombing, not a single life was lost at Mass General. The hospital had some of the worst patients that day, and the amazing teamwork that happened throughout the hospital that day is what saved all those lives.”

In addition to the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology, Emergency Response and Home Base teams – sponsored by John Hancock – runners also will support the Run for MGH team, which raises funds for hospital programs close to their hearts, including Caring for a Cure, cystic fibrosis, Down syndrome, the Lurie Center for Autism, and the Mootha Lab. 

Marathon Motivation

“I chose to run with the Mass General Marathon Team for Pediatric Cancer because I have lost too many family members and loved ones to cancer. The single most important thing that I have learned from watching so many loved ones battle cancer is to live your life to the fullest every day. We are not promised a tomorrow, so it’s important to really enjoy your life no matter how hard things get. Training for the marathon has been a life-changing experience, and I can’t wait to run the Boston Marathon with Team MGH.” - Sandy Curko, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Team, first marathon.

“I am running with MGH to honor the memory of my daughter’s best friend Megan, who passed away in 2014 after living with osteosarcoma for a year. Megan and my daughter Niamh were best friends since their preschool years. She was a truly wonderful young woman who has had a forever kind of influence on my daughter, and running for her helps me to remember how much our family loves her.” - Tim Sullivan, Pediatric Hematology & Oncology Team, 11th marathon (fifth Boston).

“This is a fantastic opportunity to support a cause I believe in, while challenging myself physically and mentally. In addition to being an MGH physician, I am also a patient, as well as the daughter, partner, cousin, friend and colleague of many current patients. This is my medical home and community. On race day I will be remembering my late father, Wally Leeds, who was a volunteer firefighter in Tunbridge, Vermont, and who believed in the value of responding to neighbors in need – a core value of MGH and the MGH Emergency Response Team.” - Naomi Leeds, Emergency Response Team, first marathon.

This article was originally published in the 03/08/19 Hotline issue.