“A marriage between the world’s best hotel and the world’s best hospital.” That is how Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC), describes the Run of Hope – a fundraiser and community-builder that puts the spotlight on pediatric cancer patients. Four Seasons Hotel Boston and the Center for Pediatric Hematology and Oncology team up to host the annual event, which attracted 581 walkers, runners and volunteers in 2013.
Bill Taylor, regional vice president and general manager for the Four Seasons, says the Run of Hope is an example of two Boston neighbors working together on a cause that matters to both. “Cancer care and research is an important part of the hotel’s philanthropy,” explains Mr. Taylor. “Our employees love their participation in the Run of Hope and being able to support Howard Weinstein and his terrific team at Mass General.”
Isadore Sharp, founder of the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, who lost his 17-year-old son to cancer, established the company’s focus on supporting children with cancer 27 years ago. All of the company’s 92 hotels around the world participate in the philanthropic effort. In Boston, the hotel forms a staff committee that helps plan and run the September event, which is held on the Charles River Esplanade. “We understand how to throw a party,” Mr. Taylor notes. “The day begins with a pancake breakfast for 1,000, prepared by our executive chef.”
More Pediatric Cancer Survivors
“Our employees love their participation in the Run of Hope,” says Bill Taylor, regional vice president and general manager of the Four Seasons.
The event benefiting pediatric cancer combines friendly competition, including a 5K run, 2K walk and “fun run” for children under six, with face-painting, a bit of soccer with players from the New England Revolution and a raffle organized by the Four Seasons team. Pediatric cancer patients and families, MGHfC caregivers and volunteers all look forward to the event, which leaves them smiling.
“The Run of Hope is one of the highlights of my entire year,” says Mr. Taylor, who is based in Boston but also oversees Four Seasons hotels in Florida and Washington. “What I love most is the prize ceremony at the end of the race when the patients give out the prizes and raffle gifts. We hand them the microphone, and they ham it up. The event is all about the kids, and the ceremony is their time to shine.”
The Run of Hope never fails to inspire the Four Seasons staff, says Mr. Taylor. “We meet patients and their families and see what strength and resilience they have. And we see how the team at Mass General, in addition to trying to find a cure for childhood cancer, cares so much for their patients and family members.”
The gathering provides a powerful reminder of the impressive successes in pediatric cancer, thanks to research that has led to a steady increase in the number of pediatric cancer survivors. “Howard has introduced us to so many past patients, some of whom are now adults,” says Mr. Taylor. “He takes enormous pride in seeing how these young adults have succeeded in the world. Now that is inspiring.”