After losing her father to lung cancer in 2012, Bridget Kearney turned to running as a way to cope with grief. Mile after mile, Kearney felt the presence of her father, who was an avid runner. Five years later, Kearney is honoring her father’s legacy by running the 2018 Boston Marathon as part of the Fighting Kids’ Cancer... One Step at a Time marathon team for MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC).

“These past five years have been the toughest years of my life, and I thought there’s no better 
way to represent those years than by doing something physically tough,” says Kearney, who grew up in Rocky Hill, Connecticut and now lives in South Boston. “This is my first marathon and it’s such an interesting feeling. When I am having a tough day of training, I think about the reasons why I’m running and it wakes me right up. I think about what life would be like if cancer didn’t exist. It burns a fire in you, an ambition you didn’t know you had, when you think about the opportunities to raise money and support a cause that has changed your life so much. I am beyond honored to run for MGHfC and Mass General.”

The MGH has touched Kearney’s heart in more ways than one. In the winter of 2016, Kearney, 25, and her colleagues from the Four Seasons Hotel Boston visited MGHfC to donate teddy bears to Pediatric Hematology and Oncology patients. That same year, Kearney’s close friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and received treatment at the MGH.

“I have so many ties to Mass General,” says Kearney. “I remember visiting the pediatric cancer unit and just having my eyes fill with tears because I felt so helpless to anyone fighting cancer. Cancer has impacted my life in so many ways and running the marathon is my way of giving back.”

Read more articles from the 03/23/18 Hotline issue.