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Running to Help Others Breathe

Kerri Boucher with Allen Lapey, MD, CF Marathon team captain and emeritus director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center.

Patient Story

Running to Help Others Breathe

As a Cystic Fibrosis patient, Kerri Boucher wasn’t expected to live past her late teens. Now, at age 40, she will run the Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General CF team to raise money for the type of innovative treatment and research breakthroughs that changed her life.

Bill Ibelle
October 6, 2021
Update October 11, 2021 | Kerri Boucher completed the 2021 Boston Marathon! “It’s hard to put into words my Marathon Monday experience,” she says. “When I ran past Heartbreak Hill Running company,  I looked over and saw Dr. Lapey! After all I’d been through with CF especially recently and all of the changes in CF he’s seen over the years, it felt like a beautiful celebration to get to see him and give him a hug. It was really meaningful and makes me teary eyed just thinking about it. It was everything I could have hoped for and I hope to do it again in the next couple years.”

When Kerri Boucher was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age 5, her doctors didn’t expect she would live past high school. Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a progressive genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.

“I want to show others that anything is possible; that they can pursue their passion too.”

Today, Kerri is 40 years old. And, thanks to the miracle of modern medicine and her participation in a groundbreaking clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital, she is preparing to run the Boston Marathon as a member of the Mass General Cystic Fibrosis Marathon Team.

“I want to show others that anything is possible; that they can pursue their passion too,” Kerri says. Although there’s still no cure for the disease, research and treatment advances have improved the daily lives and life expectancies of CF patients. This is why Kerri is running to raise money for Mass General’s Cystic Fibrosis Center. “It’s a way to increase awareness and fundraise for research so they will eventually find a cure.”

Living Her Dreams

Although Kerri has battled cystic fibrosis her entire life, her symptoms didn’t get serious until her early 20s, when chronic lung infections led to frequent hospitalizations.

“I was coughing up blood, and my lung capacity had deteriorated to 54 percent,” she recalls.

“Kerri Boucher exemplifies the human spirit.”

In 2011, she entered a clinical trial at Mass General for a new drug, Kalydeco®, which works by breaking down the thick mucus that clogs the lungs of CF patients.

Within a year, Kerri could do things she never dreamed of doing. She earned her black belt in Taekwondo, began running with her husband, and completed the New York City Marathon.

Clear The Track, Kerri’s Back

In 2019, she joined the Mass General team to run the Boston Marathon. “I had to drop out around mile eight, which was a major disappointment,” Kerri says. “I just wasn’t well. My lung function was at 46 percent.”

Later that year, the FDA approved Trikafta®, which Kerri says has given her a new lease on life. So, this year, she’s going to try again as part of the Mass General team.

“Kerri Boucher exemplifies the human spirit,” says Allen Lapey, MD, CF Marathon team captain and emeritus director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center. “All the good things like determination and perseverance, always with her lovely smile. 2 ½ years ago she ran on strength of character and came so close. Now there’s Trikafta® in her tank and you’d better clear the track because Kerri’s back.”

Kerri is back indeed. “My lung function is now at 65 percent, and I don’t cough or have repeat lung infections — it’s the best I have ever felt in my life,” she says. “Eventually, they’ll find a cure.”

To support Kerri and her Mass General Cystic Fibrosis Marathon Team, click here.

To learn more about the Cystic Fibrosis Center at Mass General, please contact us.