This spring, for my senior project, I will be running the Boston Marathon on the Boston Children’s Hospital Miles for Miracles Team. This process will involve raising at least $7,000 as well as training to be able to run 26.2 miles! Running the Boston Marathon has been a goal of mine ever since I was little, when I watched my mom run it. Although I did not, at the time, understand the esteem and significance of the race, the spirit and energy rushing past me was palpable. As I watched these throngs of people run by, each with a unique story and motivation for running, I knew that I would someday join them. At that young age, standing along the Boston Marathon route, I witnessed strength, determination, and power. I saw people struggling, and I saw them continue to run anyway. I tucked away my hope of running among them until I would be old enough to do something about it. In the meantime, with my mom as my mentor, I began to go out for runs. I ran my first 5k when I was 9 years old. I continued running, growing stronger and more consistent as I worked my way up to 10k’s . Freshman year I joined my school’s cross-country team (of which I am now captain!) and subsequently ran about 30 5k’s for Concord Academy in total. That same year, I trained for and completed my first half-marathon, running two more the following years. Running is something that gives me confidence, connects me with people, and brings me joy. It constantly teaches me how to overcome difficulties and provides a time and space for me to think freely. I run because, while I’m running, I am most myself.
Boston Children’s Hospital has played a huge role in my life. When I was in preschool, my best friend was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in her skull. At that young age, as she and I played Polly Pockets together in her hospital room at Children’s, I learned about the importance of advanced pediatric medicine. Without the superior care she received at Children’s, who knows if I would still be able to count her among my closest friends to this day. When I was seven years old, another skier collided with me, breaking my femur. After being put in a full-body cast at the hospital in New Hampshire, I arrived at Children’s where they hurriedly removed it and provided me with the surgery that helped me heal faster and more comfortably. To this day, specialists at Children’s continue to help me and other family members, and I am consistently grateful for all of the ways in which they have personally touched my life. But to speak about Children’s from a strictly personal standpoint would be extremely diminishing; each day Children’s Hospital works to save lives and further research in pediatric medicine, while providing care to countless children from all over the world as well as support for their families. The hospital has approximately 25,000 inpatient admissions each year and over 200 specialized clinical programs that schedule 557,000 visits annually. Last year, the hospital performed more than 26,500 surgical procedures and 214,000 radiological examinations. The amount that Children’s cares for its patients and the incredible importance of the work they do is unspeakable.
Since freshman year, I knew that I wanted to do a senior project at the end of my time in high school. I came up with various ideas, but none of them seemed interesting or meaningful enough. I have always been invested in philanthropy; as early as kindergarten I began organizing my own art sales, lemonade stands, and yard sales in order to raise money to donate. Every year since age 5 I have raised money to walk in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. Starting at my 6th birthday, I asked for donations to charity in place of birthday gifts each year. As someone who is privileged enough to have more than I need, it is important to me that I use my resources to help others who aren’t as fortunate. This summer, I travelled to Peru with a program called STRIVE, which leads service trips for high-school runners. In order to contribute to the service projects we did while there, I spent the months leading up to the trip fundraising by reaching out to people as well as by organizing and hosting an event. Through these efforts, I ended up raising $1,100. While in Peru, when we weren’t running or doing actual service work, we listened to seminars on the ethics and logistics of service and did some outreach work in the local community. Until STRIVE, I had never really considered the connection between running and service. The trip inspired me to continue to combine my love of running with my commitment to philanthropy and giving back in this meaningful way.
This is how I came up with the idea of running the Boston Marathon for charity as my senior project. However, the idea alone was not enough! My school required a long project proposal process in order to get my plans approved. I then had to apply for a spot on the Miles for Miracles team. The process of getting a bib with this team is highly selective – the team has over 1,000 applicants each year and only 160 bibs! In addition to filling out their application, I was in close contact with the woman in charge of the team, calling and emailing her frequently and working hard to demonstrate how committed I was to the project. It is hard to sound credible when I won’t even turn old enough to race until about 2 weeks before! I was absolutely ecstatic when I got the email saying that I’m on the team. I can’t wait to join a group of other runners with similar values to myself as we all support each other towards our common goal. A significant portion of my project will involve this team – I will join them for team events and Saturday long runs. Additionally, the team will be matching me with a Patient Partner: a current or former patient of Children’s who I will bond with and who I’m sure will provide inspiration and motivation during my training and race! Another key part of my project will be learning more about the work that Children’s does and the role that donations play in that work. I have been in contact with the Boston Children’s Trust and plan to visit in order to gain a fuller perspective of the kinds of fundraising initiatives underway there and how they help to advance hospital-wide programs.
Clearly this project is ambitious, especially as I will be juggling it with my senior year of high school. And there is no way that I can do it without support. This is where you come in! Please consider making a donation towards my run in support of Boston Children’s Hospital. Remember that any money you contribute will go directly to the incredible work that Children’s does everyday, and has the potential to save lives. So PLEASE DONATE - your contributions will mean the world to me and the patients’ families at Boston Children’s Hospital.