Yesterday, I went to visit Brigham and Women’s Hospital to visit the NICU to see the nurses that saved my life when I was born. I got a chance to meet some of the parents in the NICU who recently had babies that were my size when I was born. I weighed two pounds half ounce and everyone thought that I would not make it. In 1985, I was considered to be a miracle child. After, I was born I stayed in the NICU for 11 weeks and then I was finally sent home. My parents came back and forth from Andover to Boston to visit me every day.
Here is my story:
I was born three months premature and suffered lower extremity and back issues throughout my childhood. Even though I beat the odds and survived being born premature, my doctors never thought I would ever walk, yet alone run. In high school, I got involved in track and field as a sprinter. My personal dedication to overcoming obstacles that could be an adversity is the driving force behind my perseverance to do what others felt was impossible.
In 2011, I ran in my first long distance race, the Feaster Five 5 Mile Road Race in my hometown. At the time, it was an accomplishment for me just finishing the race. Since that time I have run in two 5 mile races, two 10K races, and four half marathons in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Growing up, I never thought of running in the Boston Marathon. It never crossed my mind since I always ran such short distances.
This year, I am running the Boston Marathon as a charity runner for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. This will be my first marathon. I am privileged to have a patient partner, Kiera, a 5-year old girl who has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia since 2012. She courageously battles the infections that set her back from her chemo treatments.
My personal obstacles pale in comparison to those facing a cancer patient but we have something in common â€“ that we both want to beat the odds and achieve a substantial goal. I am running the Boston Marathon to help the future needs of others by providing researchers with precious dollars to make cancer something no one will ever die from again by helping put an end to cancer! You can visit my fundraising page here: http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/jessicas