My name is Amanda Ruano. I have grown up on the North Shore living in Lynn most of my life until the purchase of my first home in Peabody last year. I have always been part of communities that give back and truly care about supporting local causes. I wanted to reach out in hopes that my communities now would support a very personal cause that I am fundraising for. This November marks my third year working as an RN on the Neuroscience unit at Massachusetts General Hospital Boston. In the three years I’ve worked here I’ve learned something new each time I have stepped through the revolving doors entered by so many each day. I’ve learned from my colleagues, I’ve learned from my patients, and I’ve learned from this institute that it’s not simply the bar graphs, surveys, and recognition presented to prove our high standing status in the nation. It’s the people. It’s us. It’s our compassion, our drive, and our ability to better our communities. I have been blessed with the opportunity to be a part of the MGH Marathon team this year that portrays these values on and off of the pavement. A group of individuals whose minds do not occupy a solitary goal of fundraising for the children’s Hematoloy-Oncology department, but several individual goals, hopes, and aspirations that will serve to drive each foot strike through each mile for 26.2 miles. The benefits of attaining these goals will help us defeat our fears, push our limits, and inspire us to represent a symbol of hope for our youngest, most influential patients. Since 1998, with the partnership of John Hancock Financial, the Mass General Marathon Team has raised nearly $9 million to support the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). Funds raised are directed to cancer care and research initiatives that enhance the quality of life for the hospital’s youngest cancer patients. The stress that comes with the disease process for many of these patients and families is left within the hospital walls for this day. We are given the opportunity to give them a reason to smile, cheer, and hope for something that we can help accomplish with each dollar raised to better their care.
Most know that this coming year’s Marathon will be unlike any in years past for our city. I have served as a spectator for years in support of my father and friends who have ran the race many times before. A day celebrated by many Bostonians and people from all over the world. The spring air fresh and warm, the Sox playing at home, crowds gathering supporting, high fiving, and cheering for complete strangers. There’s really nothing like Marathon Monday in our city. I spent the day among the crowds excited and anxious awaiting my dad’s finish. The perfect spot! My sister and I were thrilled to find ourselves front row pressed against the railings with the perfect view to see our dad about to finish right across from Lord and Taylor, in front of UNO, feet away from Forum. It was the heart and life of the finish...and on that day, its strong and audible beat had been silenced. First to my left, seconds later to my right, our lives and the life of our city had changed forever. There was an uneasy silence that blanketed Boylston Street following the bombing. I couldn’t tell if my hearing has been impaired or if it was in essence the shock that overtook us all. We laid on the pavement, face down by instruction of nearby officers. I didn’t want to lift my head. I didn’t know what had happened, or if and where it would happen again. I didn’t want to see what had surrounded my sister and I. Unfortunately what seemed like forever was in actuality seconds before reality had set in. It’s the reality that I still often find myself trying to forget, and the miracle I am thankful for everyday. My sister and I had been kept safe in between the two bombs, and my father had been stopped a half a mile away from the finish. We were beyond blessed and more fortunate than many that day to be able to safely leave the city and return home together.
I have always been a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. This experience has been an opportunity to create a reason that can benefit myself and others around me. I am alive. I am well. And I am ready to prove myself worthy of this chance at life I have been given. On April 21, 2014 I am running for Martin Richard. For Krystle Campbell. For Sean Collier. For Lu Lingzi. For their families. For the cancer care and research initiatives of MGHfC. For my dad’s last half mile. For my sister’s peace of mind. For my mom. For my city. For me. I want this fundraiser and these 26.2 miles to be one of my many reasons to live the life I have been given the chance to live. As one impacted victims and inspiration Jeff Bauman said in an interview reflecting on his survival, “I had a lot to live for before, and I have a lot to live for now.” Please help support me on this journey, in support of the pediatric hematology-oncology program at MassGeneral Hospital forChildren, and for the many reasons that will help make myself and Boston strong. Please visit my fundraising websitehttp://www.crowdrise.com/MGH2014BostonMarathon/fundraiser/amandaruano to help me reach my goal. Every dollar donated helps make this possible. Thank you for your support, see you at the finish line!
Cheers. –Amanda Ruano