Growing up, Brittany Fletcher knew she wanted to be a nurse. She says helping people heal has been a passion of hers for as long as she can remember. When Massachusetts General Hospital began its new graduate program last year, she jumped at the chance. Since November 2021, Brittany has been a nurse on White 9, an acute care unit that was critical to meeting the tremendous need for patient care during the COVID-19 Omicron surge. “Mass General is everything I’d hoped for — an incredibly positive, supportive environment where people can heal,” says Brittany.
After just a few months on the job, Brittany felt ready for another challenge. A two-sport varsity athlete in college, playing both soccer and basketball, she thought of running the Boston Marathon for the Mass General team and knew exactly what she wanted to fundraise for — Mass General’s Home Base program.
Life-Saving Care and Support
Home Base, a partnership between the hospital and the Red Sox Foundation, focuses on healing the psychological impacts, or “Invisible Wounds,” of military service for Veterans of all eras, Service Members, Military Families and Families of the Fallen. Home Base is the first and largest private-sector clinic in the nation dedicated to developing and delivering life-saving clinical care and support for the full spectrum of conditions associated with military service, including post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use disorder, family relationship challenges and other issues.
“The services Home Base provides are so important to Military Members and their Families, and their research is helping improve care for Veterans everywhere,” Brittany explains.
Close to Home
Brittany’s younger brother, Drew, joined the Marine Corps immediately after high school. She says he loves the military — the sense of belonging, discipline and pride, and the knowledge that he is keeping a commitment he has made to his country. Brittany says Drew also understands the toll military service can take. In 2020, his lieutenant died by suicide. Alarmingly, the rate of military suicides has drastically risen over the past five years. In fact, four times as many Service Members have died by suicide since 9/11 than have died during military operations.
“Home Base could have been life-saving for my brother’s lieutenant,” says Brittany. “When I think of the impact his death had on the whole unit, his family and his friends, it makes me want to do everything I can to support this work.”
Excellence at Work
Home Base has provided care and support to more than 30,000 Veterans and their Family Members and training sessions for more than 80,000 clinicians, educators, first responders and community members, all at no cost. The Home Base National Center of Excellence, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2018, is the driving force for a comprehensive national program of care, education and research. The center brings all of Home Base’s comprehensive and multifaceted services under one roof in the Charlestown Navy Yard, equidistant from the world-class medical and rehabilitation services of Mass General and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
“I want to thank everyone at Home Base for the work they do to enrich the lives of Veterans, Service Members and their Families,” says Brittany. “Having a brother who will be returning to civilian life soon and knowing this program is available to him if he needs it is truly amazing. I feel lucky and honored to be representing this program in the Boston Marathon.”
Brittany also has a special message for her brother: “I am truly humbled by your bravery and selflessness to defend our country, and do not know if there will ever be a way to thank you for it. I am so proud of you and honored to be your sister, and I cannot wait for you to come home!”
In the meantime, representing Home Base in the Boston Marathon is an excellent way for those involved, including Brittany, to thank our Veterans, Service Members and their Families for their sacrifice for our nation.
To join Brittany’s efforts to support Home Base, please visit her fundraising page.
To learn more about Mass General’s marathon team, click here.
John Hancock-Mass General Boston Marathon® Partnership
Mass General is proud to be an official Partner of John Hancock in the Marathon Non-Profit Program. The Non-Profit Program provides more than 1,000 Boston Marathon® bibs to select non-profit organizations throughout the community, which provides organizations with a significant fundraising opportunity. As a Non-Profit Program partner for the past 25 years, Mass General has been able to host more than 2,360 runners who have collectively raised more than $21M for the hospital. Learn more about our John Hancock-Mass General Boston Marathon partnership that continues to provide significant support for our three signature causes: Pediatric Cancer, Emergency Medicine and Home Base.