By BRIAN JENNINGS
Marathons have become a special way of giving back to the community and making a difference in people’s lives over the years. One such running event is the Boston Marathon. The 120th Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 18, and one person that plans to run in the event is Lauren Rousseau.
No one could ever forget the 2013 Boston Marathon when three spectators were killed and over 250 more were injured from two bomb explosions. Rousseau may not have been present at the 2013 race, but she was still impacted by the tragedy.
Born and raised in Southington, Rousseau graduated from Southington High School but has been living in Boston for nine years. After high school, she attended the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Boston and graduated with a graduate’s degree to become a physician’s assistant.
“I remember just seeing it on the news and being shocked, sad, and scared for the whole community,” said Rousseau. “I had friends and family that were there watching the marathon. I just remember freaking out and checking to make sure everyone was okay.”
Most of those people were taken to Mass General. Rousseau said she had no idea she would be working a couple months later.
“I saw the team they have and how great everyone works together,” said Rousseau. “I think that they did an awesome job in handling all of those casualties. We actually get flowers that are usually brought to the Massachusetts General Hospital emergency department almost every year on the anniversary of the bombings from families and loved ones of those who were lost on that day.”
Rousseau has been a physician’s assistant in the emergency response department at the MGH for two years now and will be running in the marathon for the emergency response team with a minimum goal of raising $6,000 and a personal goal of raising $8,000.
“I’m realizing that it’s a lot of money and very stressful. It’s anxiety-provoking,” said Rousseau. “I’m not a huge fan of asking people for money, but I think it’s really for a great cause. If the people can see and understand that, I think they’d be willing to help out.”
The money Rousseau is raising from the Boston Marathon will go towards the emergency response fund to help train health care providers, administrative staff, and nurses in the emergency department to perform drills in the act of any mass casualty events.
“Mass General was the number one hospital that took care of all the casualties from the Marathon bombings,” said Rousseau. “They were getting hundreds of patients in just minutes at a time. They need to be able to figure out how to manage so many patients that are dying and are so sick in the emergency department at one specific time. So these drills really help them to do that.”
On July 28, 2010, Rousseau experienced a personal tragedy when she suddenly lost her best friend, Melanie Rossini, at the age of 20. Both attended Southington High School together and lived two houses down from each other.
“She was a year younger than me, but people would always say that we were connected at the hip,” said Rousseau. “We were always together and she was a big part of my family.”
Rousseau didn’t start her distance running until college, but became very dedicated to running following the passing of Rossini, deciding that she was going to run a half marathon in her name.
Rousseau came up with a 5K race in Rossini’s name, “Miles for Melanie,” and helped raise over $100,000 through a fundraiser to build a pavilion at the Southington YMCA’s Camp Sloper in her name. Rossini worked at the Southington YMCA for several years.
“Ever since Melanie passed, I have made it my mission to always run in her name whenever I run,” said Rousseau. “The money will be going to MGH, but I will always be running for Melanie.”
This will be Rousseau’s first time running in the Boston Marathon.
If you would like to donate to Rousseau’s fundraiser, you can visit: www.crowdrise.com/MassGeneralHospitalBoston2016/fundraiser/laurenrousseau1.