By BRIAN JENNINGS
Southington resident Michael Garry will run in the 121st Boston Marathon on Monday, April 17 in support of MassGeneral Hospital (MGH) for the children’s pediatric cancer team, “Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time.”
Garry will join an estimated 30,000 runners on a 26.2-mile course that spans from Hopkinton Street to Boylston Street in Boston.
The team is made up of 102 runners and includes former patients and parents, MGH employees, and hospital supporters. Their fundraising goal? $1 million.
The funds Garry raises will support cutting-edge research and quality of life programming, such as child life services and art and music therapy, which help pediatric cancer patients and their families cope emotionally and developmentally with their illnesses.
Garry joined the pediatric marathon team in honor of his nephew Liam, who was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma at age six months in 2006. Liam is now 10 years old and healthy, thanks in large part to the efforts of MGH for Children. Friends and family have been running for Liam since 2007.
“I am thrilled to run this year in support of MassGeneral Hospital and Liam’s fight against this horrible disease,” said Garry in an article published by the Massachusetts MGH for Children.
This will be Gary’s second marathon, but his first time running in the Boston Marathon. He ran in the Hartford Marathon in 2012 in honor of his mother who unexpectedly passed away early that year.
“The time training and being able to honor her memory by doing something I had never done before helped me in a small way deal with her loss,” said Garry in the article.
On race day, Gary said that his first thought will be about survival.
“My training has not been what I had hoped,” said Garry in the article. “I’ve been dealing with IT band syndrome in my left knee. This has made training a battle. However, it has helped me to keep in perspective the real battle those patients like Liam had to fight to survive. Liam was one of the lucky ones who won his fight.”
Gary said that he will also be thinking about my father-in-law, Tom Orsini, who lost his yearlong battle with lung cancer in November of this past year.
“No matter what happens, I will finish this race,” said Garry in the article. “Liam and my father-in-law did not quit in their struggle, and neither will I.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of John Hancock’s partnership with the MGH Marathon Program. Since it was formed in 1998, MGH’s “Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time” has raised more than $12 million that directly supports the pediatric hematology-oncology program.
“I have a unique perspective into the lives of children undergoing life-saving therapy at MassGeneral Hospital for Children,” said Howard Weinstein in a press release, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MGH for Children, and 17-year captain of the pediatric team. “Since the team’s inception, I’ve seen our runners get physically and emotionally involved in our mission to conquer childhood cancer. They go the extra mile and their support is vital to our continued holistic approach to cancer care.”
To learn more about the “Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time” team or to help support Garry, visit www.crowdrise.com/MGHPediatricCancerBoston2017/fundraiser/michaelgarry.