North End residents Kristen Cina and Shavonne Malara will run in the 122nd Boston Marathon on April 16, in support of MassGeneral Hospital for Children’s Pediatric Cancer Team. They will join an estimated 30,000 runners along the 26.2-mile course that spans from Hopkinton to Boston’s Boylston Street. The funds Kristen and Shavonne raise will support pioneering research, clinical initiatives and quality of life services such as art and music therapy which help pediatric cancer patients cope emotionally and developmentally with their illnesses.
As a palliative care nurse practitioner at Mass General, Kristen is reminded daily that life is short. Her own mortality became even more evident after the death of her sister. She’s now determined to pursue her goal of running the Boston Marathon while supporting patients like her own facing life-threatening diagnoses.
Shavonne, an avid runner, is taking on her second Boston Marathon on behalf of the Mass General pediatric cancer team. She experienced a medical emergency soon after moving to Boston in July 2012 and although 3,000 miles away from her family in Canada, Shavonne was comforted by her clinicians’ expert care. She is proud to run the 2018 marathon in appreciate for the care she received at Mass General.
The team, made up of 102 runners – including former patients and parents, MGH employees and hospital supporters – has set a fundraising goal of $1 million. Thanks to a partnership with John Hancock, the Mass General’s Fighting Kids’ Cancer…One Step at a Time team will include 102 runners that range from former patients and parents, MGH employees and longtime program supporters. Since 1998, the pediatric cancer team has raised more than $13.5 million that directly support pediatric cancer care and research initiatives.
“I have a unique perspective into the lives of children undergoing lifesaving cancer treatment at MGHfC,” says Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology at MGHfC and 18-year captain of the pediatric team. “These runners, who dedicate so much of themselves to training and fundraising efforts, become partners in our mission to conquer childhood cancer. They go the extra mile and their support is essential to our continued holistic approach to cancer care.”