I am honored to be running the 2019 Boston Marathon with the Credit Unions Kids at Heart Team (CU K@H) again. This will be my 5th time running with this wonderful team.
Established in 1996, by Jane Melchionda, the CU K@H Team is dedicated to helping children that are receiving care at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) lead healthy and happy lives. For the past several years, the CU K@H Team has worked closely with the scientists and doctors at BCH to fund special research activities aimed at the prevention, treatment, and/or a cure for pediatric neurological diseases, including Sturge-Weber Syndrome, Moyamoya disease, Cerebral Palsy, and pediatric brain tumors.
Through this program, each runner is paired with a patient partner child who is receiving care at BCH. Many of the patient partners have extraordinary medical challenges, but also possess great spirit, strength, courage and determination. These incredible children, who overcome their own challenges every day, inspire the runners to achieve personal goals that they never thought possible. I am proud to say my patient partner is Ryan Clough.
When Ryan was born he was very ill and required intensive medical care through BCH. He began his life in the NICU unit at BCH and was transferred to the MICU. Ryan’s mom, Shannon, said she knew in her heart the he was in the best care at BCH with the best doctors, nurses, staff and therapists in the world. She also said that Ryan showed such determination to fight through anything. BCH and the dedicated medical staff saved Ryan’s life and made and gave him the opportunity to be the person his is today. The care he received from BHC was full of compassion, dedication and overall love. Ryan still makes frequent trips to BCH each year for check–ups.
Ryan has worked hard in combination with his loving family, as well as the amazing doctors and staff at BHC to become a fun loving, happy 18 year old Senior at Haverhill High School. He loves to go bowling, swimming and play basketball. He also loves hamburgers, french fries and mocha frappes. Ryan also has a passion for Flags!!! He has a collection of over 25 flags from friends, family and places he has visited. The only time he does not have his flags is when he is using his iPad. He loves the warm weather and to be outside soaking up the sun and proudly waving his flags. He has received thorough care over the years at BCH and through UC K@H we can help BCH continue to provide such great care and research for the benefit of these wonderful children like Ryan.
My running journey started when I witnessed the events of the 2013 Boston Marathon. Watching it on tv and hearing firsthand accounts of what happened I felt helpless. I decided to find a way to help and through my friend Carrie Fitzgerald (who is also running again this year) we worked our way into the CUK@H program.
As Children’s Hospital says: “Until every child is well.” I agree with them, and hope that my small part can help BCH in their mission to make every child well. Please consider a donation to this life changing charity. I thank you in advance for your selflessness and donation
To donate in honor of this runner, please call the CU Kids at Heart coordinator at 800.428.1144, Ext. 3320, or mail a check to: CU Kids at Heart, 35 Corporate Drive, Suite 300, Burlington, MA 01803. Please make checks payable to “CU Kids at Heart” and add the name(s) of the runner(s) in the check’s subject line.