I've joined the Miles for Miracles team for a variety of reasons, but there are two very distinct reasons I am forever indebted to Boston Children's Hospital. I'll spare you the below rant, but the team at BCH has made sure I got to grow up with two very important people in my life: Sydney Waitt and Callie Herschfield. Without Boston Children’s Hospital, I may have never truly known these two invaluable people who have changed my life so deeply. I run not only for Callie and for Sydney, but for every child, parent, sibling, or friend whose been impacted by the prevalence of childhood cancer, disease, and disability. I run for the children currently fighting for their lives, for the sleepless nights every parent of a sick child knows, and for the doctors, nurses, and staff who have dedicated their lives to the mission: until every child is well.
If anyone knows about the fragility of life, it’s Sydney Waitt. Sydney’s rare bone cancer, Ewing Sarcoma, will never be a defining feature of her life, but rather a lesson she puts out to the world with her ever-present positivity and gracious outlook on life. Sydney showed me that life is far too short to be anything but happy and that how we react, and how we embrace each day is a choice. Sydney’s spontaneity and enthusiasm for life are infectious (hence, me signing up for a marathon) and with every bone in my body, I know that the team at Boston Children’s who saved Sydney’s life did the world a great service. I hope you all get to know a Sydney, someone that pushes you to live every day like it's your last. 26.2 miles is nothing compared to what the doctors at BCH have given me, a friend for life who has provided me more in the form of life lessons than I'll ever be able to repay. I know that come November 5th, Sydney, who will be completing her Masters Degree at the University of Glasgow will be cheering me on, alongside the friends we made at Manhattan College who are forever changed by Sydney and her spirit for life.
I am forever grateful to have grown up alongside a person like Callie. At 10 years old, Callie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. When she should've been spending her summers on the beach with me, Callie saw the inside of a hospital room on Longwood Ave in Boston, often for days and weeks at a time. But something about Callie that will always stick with me and the people her story has touched is her persistence, free spirit, and loving soul. Following a relapse in 2015, Callie knew the perils of quarantine and Zoom calls long before 2020 as she faced a year-long isolation following a Bone Marrow Transplant. However, Callie vowed to keep attending school, stay up-to-date when she could, and never miss a beat both academically and socially. In 2017, a little over two years following her Bone Marrow Transplant, Callie vowed to walk the 26.2 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk alongside our friends and I. Callie rallied together our biggest team yet, raised more money than we ever had, and crossed the finish line. Callie's picture served as a mile marker on the walk years before she crossed the finish line, and in 2017, she served as a true testimony to the progress made in the fight against childhood cancer. Like Sydney, cancer will never define Callie, but rather serve as a reminder of human resilience and perseverance. I couldn't be prouder to have the absolute privilege of sharing Callie's story, and I can't wait to do another 26.2 in her honor.
P.S. Let's hope I'm a lot faster than our 8-hour personal best at the 2017 Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk!