In 2012, 122 members of the Mass General Marathon Team: Fighting Kids’ Cancer … One Step at a Time spent all spring training and raising critical funds for the MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC) Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Unit. Howard Weinstein, MD, the unit chief, celebrated his 23rd Boston Marathon and his 15th as team captain. Mass General’s 2012 team also included four runners for cystic fibrosis and four for palliative care.
Longtime sponsor John Hancock Financial Services generously provided the bibs for the runners. In return, each runner raised $5,000 or more during four intense months of training. Some runners were hospital workers inspired by the daily patient care and research efforts that the team’s fundraising supports. Others ran in memory of loved ones or in honor of family members battling cancer. Many ran in support of patient partners, children and teenagers currently receiving cancer treatment at Mass General.
Steve Davis, a first-year marathoner for Mass General, said he was touched by a moment that occurred during the team’s 20-mile training run. He was plodding through Natick when he looked up and saw his name on a sign being held by his 11-year-old patient partner, Stephen, currently being treated at MGHfC. “I will never forget looking up and seeing him waving the sign,” said Mr. Davis, who joined the marathon team in 2011 soon after he lost his wife, Ginger, to a long battle with cancer. “It wasn’t even race day. How can one get anymore inspiration than that?”
When patients and their families joined runners at the pasta dinner the night before the marathon, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as runners gave their patient-partners medals. It was an amazing moment to honor the patients’ fight against cancer. Marathon Monday 2012 wasn’t just a standard 26.2 miles as part of the fight against pediatric cancer: the day marked the hottest temperatures for runners in more than 100 years.
Although race times may have been longer than expected, Mass General Marathon runners pushed themselves to take the thousands of steps from Hopkinton to Boston — past Mile 20 where they saw family, friends and patient partners at Dr. Weinstein’s home — to reach the finish line