You are using an unsupported browser. Please use the latest version of Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Edge.
Running in the Family

Viet Tran and his cousin's wife Quyen at a Mass General Marathon Team kickoff event.

Donor Story

Running in the Family

In memory of his cousin Scott, Viet Tran is running the Boston Marathon® with his sister and Scott’s wife to raise funds for pediatric cancer research at Mass General for Children.

Kelsey Abbruzzese
March 27, 2024

As a young boy, Viet Tran thought the world of his older cousin, Scott Nguyen. Every Sunday, Scott and Quyen, his childhood sweetheart, who later became his wife, came to Viet’s house in Medford, Mass., and took Viet and his sister Chau out for breakfast sandwiches. Scott taught Viet how to ride a bike. He checked in on him at every family gathering. He became a role model for Viet, setting an example as a hardworking home builder, husband and father of three.

So, when Scott was diagnosed with Stage 4 gastrointestinal cancer in July 2022, and died of the illness at the age of 49 in March 2023, the loss rocked Viet and his family. But on April 15, they’re taking their next steps forward together — at the 128th Boston Marathon®.

In memory of Scott and to honor the care he received at Mass General Cancer Center’s Tucker Gosnell Center for Gastrointestinal Cancers, Viet, Chau and Quyen are all running to raise funds for Mass General for Children’s pediatric cancer research. The family hopes their efforts make it possible for children with cancer to have access to the same leading-edge treatments that Scott received.

“It’s a really positive thing for all of us to run this race together, in the hardest year we’ve ever experienced as a family,” says Viet, who, at 27 years old, recently earned a master’s degree in mathematical finance from Boston University. He now works at Fidelity Investments in the firm’s Boston office. “This shows that we can push through grief and be positive and live life to the fullest. What I want is to make sure Scott’s memory lives on through us and his kids.”

From Refugee to Role Model

Scott came from Vietnam to the U.S. in the early 1980s as a refugee. After settling in Philadelphia with his family, Scott came to Boston during high school to work for Viet’s dad at his residential construction company. Viet was born when Scott was in college at Northeastern University, and he has fond memories of Scott and Quyen living at his house before they moved into their own place.

“He was a really great man,” Viet says. “He married the love of his life, they raised three beautiful children, and he went out and built his own hardwood flooring business over the course of 25 years. But Scott’s biggest motivation was to take care of all of us. It was inspiring for me, growing up and seeing someone prioritize the right things, like caring for his family and making an impact on the community.”

When Scott was diagnosed, Viet says that his care team at Mass General Cancer Center did everything they could do to treat his cancer. But, given the advanced nature and progression of Scott’s illness, their care eventually transitioned to focus on Scott’s quality of life for his terminal illness, and on comforting the family.

“What stands out for me is the support the Mass General Cancer Center team gave to me and family, giving us that time to just be with Scott,” Viet says. “I’ll forever be grateful that we could spend his final few minutes with him. I’m sure they’ve been through that experience with other patients, but I’ll never forget their support.”

L-R: Quyen (Scott's wife), Chau (Viet's sister), Jeff (Scott's brother), Scott and Viet, at his childhood home in Medford, Mass.
Back L-R: Quyen (Scott’s wife), Jeff (Scott’s brother) and Scott; Front L-R: Chau (Viet’s sister) and Viet, at their childhood home in Medford, Mass.

Honoring a Legacy

Viet was captain of the track and field team in high school, running the 1600- and 3200-meter races, so completing his hometown marathon had been a dream for a while. When Viet ran the New York Marathon in November 2023, Quyen, who works for Mass General Brigham, sent him information about the hospital’s Boston Marathon team. He signed up right away.

“The care that Scott received at Mass General Cancer Center was second to none, so I knew we’d be supporting a wonderful cause,” Viet says. “This is the best hospital for people looking to get any kind of treatment, and I hope the money we raise helps outcomes for kids with pediatric cancer.”

The marathon will be a little more than a year after Scott’s death. Viet remembers one of Scott’s dying wishes was for the Tran-Nguyen family to stick together and look out for each other, so running alongside Chau and Quyen from Hopkinton to Boylston Street seems like a natural way to fulfill that wish.

“I’m looking forward to that sense of euphoria that comes with running and seeing the crowds,” Viet says. “We’re doing something that’s very difficult, but having family, friends and the people in my life supporting me, my sister and Quyen is going to be an amazing experience.”

If you would like to support Viet, please visit his fundraising page.

To learn more about Mass General’s marathon team, click here.