BURLINGTON, Mass. (5/16/14)--Fleet of feet. Strong of heart. Deep of generosity. The 16 racers who participated in this year's Boston Marathon as part of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart (CU K@H) program raised more than $180,000--the most in the team's history--for the Boston Children's Hospital.
|With 16 racers and a wealth of supporters, Credit Unions Kids at Heart raised more than $180,000 for Boston Children's Hospital at this year's Boston Marathon.|
The CU K@H marathon runners are each paired with a patient-partner child who is receiving care at the hospital. The relationships are inspiring--the children motivate the runners as they train through the winter, and the runners build bonds with the children.
"It is a commitment to training, fundraising and building relationships," said Alan Bernstein, Credit Unions Kids at Heart spokesman and president of Vertifi Software.
In addition to raising funds on their own, runners are sponsored by a credit union, or the CU K@H program. This year, the team had six rookie runners, including Carrie Fitzgerald, who was paired with 3-year-old patient Colin Hill.
|Boston Children's Hospital patient-partner Joey Corcoran cheers on his runner, Suzanne Garwood, as the duo took part in its first Boston Marathon as part of the Credit Unions Kids at Heart program. (Credit Unions Kids at Heart photos)|
"Every now and then someone would really yell my name with a purpose, and then I knew that it was someone I knew who was there offering everything they had to give me encouragement," said Fitzgerald, who was sponsored by Merrimack Valley FCU, Lawrence, with $495 million in assets. "It seemed like so many people all along the route were cheering for Children's! It was a tremendous feeling to know how many lives Children's has touched."
Patient-partner Andy Martin, who had been participating with runner Ray Phillips for 15 years, took to the course himself this year in the wheelchair division. Martin clocked in at 2 hours, 49 minutes, crossing the finish line in a special wheelchair purchased by his sponsor credit union, Hanscom FCU, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. (See News Now April 10: Hanscom FCU supports Team Andy in Boston Marathon.)
The number of runners is growing every year, Bernstein told News Now. The marathon is fun for people to participate in, and the patient-partner program is a big part of the team's success, he said.
Since its inception, CU K@H has contributed more than $4.2 million to Boston Children's Hospital.