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Running the Boston Marathon has been a dream for native New Yorker Seth Woolf ever since he attended Brandeis University and got caught up in the excitement of race day. Next month, Woolf, who graduated in 2004, will take his place at the starting line in Hopkinton as part of Team Brigham, running to realize his own dream and raise money for those in need.
"Team Brigham gives you a chance to make a difference for those less fortunate," said Woolf, a research assistant in the Division of General Medicine and Primary Care who is among the team's 135 members. "You're not just running for yourself, you're running for a great cause."
The $500,000 Team Brigham strives to raise this year will support BWH community programs, including Passageway, the Connecting Hope, Assistance and Treatment (CHAT) Program and the Student Success Jobs Program. Over the last ten years, Team Brigham runners have raised more than $2.5 million for such programs.
To meet this year's goal, each runner commits to raising a hefty $2,800. For their extraordinary efforts, runners are rewarded with the chance to be part of a spirited team and receive guidance from fitness experts.
That makes training for the 26.2-mile race less daunting. Suzanne Leidel of Development, the team's official "den mother" and staff at Fitcorp organize training runs and lectures on nutrition, injury prevention and training schedules to help runners get in tip-top shape. Leidel motivates runners with weekly e-mails that include quotes of inspiration.
"It's great because everything's set up for you," said Cari Donnelly, administrative assistant in Thoracic Surgery, who came across the call for runners in ThisWeek@BWH e-mails and thought it a perfect way to help BWH and run her first marathon. "Suzanne is good about mapping things out for us every step of the way," she said.
Donnelly and her colleague Carol Daunais, administrative assistant in Thoracic Surgery, have formed a team within a team along with Donnelly's roommate Shannon Luckovich. The three are motivating each other in fundraising and training runs.
With one recent marathon under her belt, Daunais has valuable advice to share, from tips on timing and pacing right down to the kind of socks runners should wear on race day—nothing cotton.
Daunais raised $3,400 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society when she ran a marathon at Disney World in January. She planned to take a year off in between marathons, but when Donnelly signed up, Daunais decided join the team, too.
"I've always watched the Boston Marathon on TV and wanted to do it," said Daunais, a Boston resident. "I learned a lot in the marathon at Disney that prepared me for the Boston Marathon, which is a more challenging course."
Daunais and Donnelly will join Team Brigham on Saturday, March 24, for the team's longest training run of the season—21 miles—in preparation for the April 16 Boston Marathon.
Stay tuned to BWH Bulletin for upcoming stories about Team Brigham.
Examples of items that Team Brigham's dollars support through the Office for Women, Family and Community Programs:
$350 pays for a wig for a woman with breast cancer
$400 pays for breast cancer education and outreach for immigrant women
$500 covers 12 months of Tamoxifen for a breast cancer survivor
$5,000 provides back-to-school clothing for approximately 100 children whose mothers are victims of domestic violence
$7,500 supports Passageway's emergency fund for one year, supplying domestic violence victims and their children with items such as food, clothing, transportation, changes in apartment/home locks, rental assistance and utilities assistance
$20,000 pays for summer internships for 10 students in the Student Success Jobs Program
Team Brigham is gearing up for the Boston Marathon April 16 and needs your help to meet its fund-raising goal of $500,000. One way to help is to bid on items in an online auction that benefits the team. Visit www.teambrigham.cmarket.com for details and to start bidding. E-mail Suzanne Leidel at email@example.com for more information on supporting runners.