In Your Area
Jim and Laurel, who have been matched for 2 years, share their thoughts about the Patient-Runner Connection program.
Laurel, patient connection, and Jim, runner.
Signing up for the Patient-Runner Connection last year, I’m sure you had a lot of expectations from your patient match. Did you expect Laurel’s assistance with fundraising to be one of them?
Jim: I really had no expectation of any financial assistance towards my fundraising. I really wanted to connect with somebody who is benefiting from all the treatments funded by the team's fundraising efforts. Suffice to say - I hit the jackpot in Laurel. She's warm, friendly and a very kind person. She's also proven to be an incredibly articulate and willing advocate for liver treatments and the entire American Liver Foundation mission.
Even though you were matched late into the marathon season last year, the first thing you did was compose a personal letter, sharing your story, to send out to family and friends. Why did assisting Jim with fundraising mean so much to you?
Laurel: The gift of life was given to me by a truly remarkable 18 year old boy and his very special family.
Without them, I would not be here today. On September 15, 2011 I had a life-saving transplant, because of end stage liver disease. Hepatitis C slowly destroyed my liver over a course of twenty plus years. Amazing hepatologists took care of me over those years. Those committed physicians devote their lives to finding cures for the 100 different types of liver disease.
Cures and treatment options depend on funds for research. The American Liver Foundation raise their funds for research, and I wanted to contribute by helping my friends and family become more aware of liver disease and contribute to a cause that is close to my heart.
Can you tell us how Laurel’s letter affected your fundraising, not only from a financial standpoint, but from an emotional one as well?
Jim: It really helped reinforce a huge part of the 'why' I do this. Certainly running in memory of my Dad was, and always will be, a huge driver. But Laurel represents the wonderful result of where the research dollars go, and the protocols developed to treat liver disease and perform wonderfully successful transplants.
To those who are nervous to share their story or to ask friends and family for donations on behalf of their runner, what advice do you have?
Laurel: It is normal to be nervous about fundraising, believe me, I was! But the desire to help raise money for the American Liver Foundation was greater than my apprehension. I learned through my experience that your friends, family, neighbors and co-workers want to help. It makes them feel great that they are contributing to a cause that is so personal to you. Don’t worry about the money… people will give what they feel comfortable giving and will be impressed that you are involved in something so important.
Being in the Patient-Runner Connection program is an amazing opportunity to get to know a new person… your runner. I believe people come into your life for a reason. Through this match, I have a wonderful new person in my life. Take the first step, connect with your runner, and who knows where that journey will take you. Thank you, Jim, for being a part of my life. I’m so glad we met!
I would encourage you to participate. This will be a year that every one of us will want to contribute and take part in any way we can, in order to say that we are Boston Strong!