"In Ancient Rome the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips, 'Let me win. But if I can't win, let me be brave in the attempt." Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Last April, a few days before I had ACL surgery on my right knee, I told Andrew I had a dream of running the Boston Marathon on what will be Mae's 5th birthday - April 20, 2020. I've always had a love of Marathon Monday. I ran the Boston Marathon for Boston Children's in 2007. So when Mae was born on Marathon Monday, with so many surprises, I intuitively knew the challenges we faced would become our greatest strengths.
When they told me my tiny, sweet baby might have Down syndrome, my heart broke. I was terrified for what that might mean for her life. A few weeks later we took her to Boston Children's Hospital. When they told me about her life threatening heart issue, my soul broke. Everything became about saving my baby. I poured myself into her health, her therapies, her development, controlling the narritive that surrounded her, creating opportunities for acceptance and access. Until this past year, when the Universe knocked me off my feet in the form of a total ACL tear. For the first time in my life, I was completely helpless.
A few weeks after surgery, I was attempting to make one rotation on the stationary bike with an almost straight leg. I couldn't do it. The pain was intense. I felt so far from myself. The reality of the road ahead felt overwhelming. I had a family that needed me to be healthy. I had a two year old who I couldn't pick up and hold for six weeks. I was starting to unravel. I remember sitting on the bike crying. As the tears started to flow, so did the strength. From somewhere deep inside came inspiration, came a voice, a call, a push from within. If Mae could survive two heart surgeries and do all the things we expect out of her in a day with great effort and very little complaining, then I could do this.
If I expect Mae to overcome every challenge she comes across, then I should demand it of myself. If I believe in her ablity to be and do anything she desires, to change the world, to influence her community, to be a strong, affective self advocate, then I better believe in my own ability to inspire and be impactful. In that tearful moment, I made a promise to myself. I was going to run the Boston Marathon and raise money to build Mae's Market - a store that will be built into the new Developmental Medicine building at Boston Children's and will provide educational and therapuetic resources free of charge to all children in Developmental Medicine.
The reality is that I can not ask of Mae what I'm not willing to give of myself. So here we go! Training has begun, I'm up to six miles! The most icredible part is that my dream has become a dream for people who I love dearly - Andrew, my cousin/soulmate Sara Conhan and my dear friend Tim Cooley. Together, the four of us are going to take a lesson from Mae - we're going to step up to the challenge and we're going to make an impact in our community. It is our great hope that you join us in this journey. As we all know, we are stronger together than we are individually! xoxo