Why I run the Boston Marathon #2: My Charity team involvement

(for the first post, you can go here!)

I kept running after my first marathon. (duh) In between my first Boston Marathon (2006) and my second, I did a half ironman (another story for another day-but in a nutshell:NEVER AGAIN). I knew I really wanted to do another Boston, and I was overjoyed when one of my colleagues, Kathy, asked if I wanted to run as a part of the Kids At Heart team for Children’s Hospital. (So that is how I have run SOOO many Boston Marathons without qualifying)

Honestly, I’m going to put here what I wrote on my Children’s Hospital website because it’s pretty descriptive…

This year is my 8th year as a teammate in the wonderful program of Credit Union Kids at Heart. Our team, the Kids at Heart team, is a subset of a larger team, Children’s Hospital Boston. 8 years ago, a friend and colleague of mine at my job asked me to become a part of this organization and I have been loving the journey ever since. I have stayed a part of this team for so long because it’s a cause that I am 110% commited to.

A little background on the Credit Union Kids at Heart: The cornerstone fundraising event of the Credit Union Kids at Heart program is the Boston Marathon. Each runner is paired with a patient partner child who is receiving care at Boston Children’s Hospital. Participating credit unions raise funds on behalf of their runners to support life-saving care and world-class research at Boston Children’s Hospital. the CU K@H Team is attempting to raise $300,000 for certain special research projects that are intended to treat and/or cure Moyamoya disease, Sturge-Weber syndrome, and brain tumors. Two of the research projects were requests from my teammate’s patient partner families, and they are compelling cases indeed.

For 6 out of the past 8 years, I have had the cutest little patient partner. His name is Everett Chase. When I first met Everett, he was just a 5 year old little peanut who I could easily pick up! Now he is a handsome 10 year old who is ALWAYS smiling and laughing. Whenever I’m around him, I can’t help but grin from ear to ear! He also has Cerebral Palsy. The exact cause for Everett’s condition cannot be diagnosed by doctors, as it is a particular set of issues that has never been seen. He doesn’t quite fit any known syndrome or disease. Trips to Children’s Hospital in Boston are commonplace for Everett’s care. Everett attends school at The Professional Center in Andover, MA. He is doing very well, and loves going to school. The staff thinks the world of him, and Everett’s family, in turn thinks the world of them.

Everett has two sisters: One older, Meredith, and one younger, Heather and these two adore their brother. As a family, the Chase’s do tons of stuff together. They are a normal family who does activities together like bike riding to sledding…Everett loves it all. He loves to be outside and to be with his family. He makes lots of noises when you aren’t paying attention to him! Everett is just an everyday, normal kid trying to grow up in the most normal way that he possibly can. The Chase family doesn’t put a limit on what their son can do-That is one thing I have learned from them.

If you are to ask Michele( Everetts Mom, or Peter, (Everett’s Dad) about what they did over summer vacation, you would hear answers like “we went camping all summer, and ate tons of ice cream.” Sure, they might visit the doctor’s office more than most of us do, but for the most part they are just a normal, everyday family. Everett has taught ME that “handicap” is just an expression and that there are no limits to what you can do with your life. The world is a wonderful limitless place and to see it like that is a gift.

To have a patient partner on Marathon Monday means that there is someone waiting for me near the finish line of the race: Everett is my motivation to schlepp my butt outside in the freezing cold weather to get my runs in..There are NO EXCUSES for me when it comes to marathon training. I know that I have to get it done because there is a little man counting on me to run those miles on April 20th and pick him up at the fire station on Boylston St. He will be waiting for me with his ear to ear grin for us to make the journey down to the finish line!

Every year, as I round the corner of Boylston St, Everett is there, waiting for me. I pick him up in his wheelchair, and we cross the marathon finish line as a whole because we are Team Everett&Nicole! Last year was a little different. Due to the heightened security from the 2013 marathon bombings, my team opted to keep the patient partners in a secure, safe location. Everett was not there waiting for me for us to finish and that made me kind of sad. This year we are hoping to have our partners back in the city at our old location, waiting on the runners to finish our journeys into Boston.

SOOO…I stay a member of this team because:
-I get to help the coolest people on the planet:kids!
-I get to be a part of a team that is filled with AMAZING people!
-UMMM.. HELLOOOO I get to run my beloved Boston Marathon!
it’s really a win-win situation in my eyes…

It has been an absolute honor, and a privilege to be a part of this team for so long.. I wish you all could come to our kick off marathon parties so that you could here all of the incredible stories from my teammates. Their stories are beautiful and eye opening and will give you some running fuel along while filling your whole heart with happiness. And, I’ve gotta say… it is a lot easier to train through disgusting New England winters: I know someone else is counting on me, and that is crucial for marathon training. Long before I found my own motivation to “Get the BQ“, I had the drive to keep going because of my patient partner, and that is really something special.

Here are some pics of my little cutie patootie and I throughout our years together!

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Part 3 (the final one!) coming at you tomorrow!

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20 thoughts on “Why I run the Boston Marathon #2: My Charity team involvement

  1. This is so awesome. I have a running buddy who also has CP. He lives in Florida, so unless I find a race to run near him, I’m not likely to be able to run with him or even meet him. It must be amazing to know Everett is waiting for you because I was beyond excited when I got to see a picture of my running buddy wearing my Baystate Marathon medal.

  2. I am Everett’s mom and I personally tell you how amazing person Nicole is. She always had a smile when she stops to get Everett on the way to the finish line. even after just running over 25 miles. I have said it before and I will say it again and again Nicole you are beautiful person inside and out. I can’t begin to express how grateful and happy that you are the other half of team Nicole and Everett. What you endure for us is truly so special.

  3. i love this!!!! i ran two boston marathons, a half ironman, an olympic triathlon, and a sprint triathlon all with the Leukemia and Lymphoma’s Team in Training so i can totally relate to this post. the motivation. the pride. the honor. i tear up thinking about how special it is to run for something bigger than yourself. everett is the cutest!!

  4. This is such a great story. I love that you have bonded with one particular person. I have tried to run for a charity for many years for Boston and have been turned down and then finally decided that I was just going to try and qualify, but you may have made me rethink 🙂

  5. I knew a little bit about the back story to how you have been able to run so many Boston’s and the charity you run for but this post gave me even getter perspective behind it all. Also, it makes me realize that you are as I have said before not just an amazing runner, but also, a very amazing, positive, and caring person!!! It’s great that you do this and continue to do so. I love the pictures. Everett couldn’t have a better person in his corner as a support 🙂 I mean that. You can see your sincere joy come across in your smile in the pics too. Okay, now … a half ironman!?!?!? You are sooooo going to have to spill the beans on this one. I need to hear about that little story/adventure. You’re holding out twinie haha lol 🙂 I can’t wait to read part three tomorrow!!! 🙂

      • I can’t wait for that write up and I’ll be sure not to drink anything while I read it for fear I might spew liquid everywhere lol. I’m sure it’ll be that funny 😉 and thank you so much Nicole! The feeling is mutual 🙂

  6. Charity running is also how I got my start in long distance running, even if, in a sense, it was for myself! But when I was coaching for MDA Team Momentum at Chicago this year, it was great to feel myself back in the milieu. There really is nothing more inspiring than a) knowing that you have potentially helped someone and b) that you are “fighting” the race while they “fight’ what they are going through.

  7. That is so awesome that you have been doing that over the years! I love that you run for the same patient every year so you can really make a connection with them! That’s sad about last year but hopefully they will figure out a way to let the patients cross the finish line again!

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