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Pat and the Linehan Family

Pat and the Linehan Family, who hav been matched for two years in memory of Laura Linehan, share their thoughts about the Patient-Runner Connection program.

Ann, Laura and Jim Linehan

Having been involved with the Patient-Runner Connection, in memory of Laura, for quite a few years, your family has participated in a number of fundraising endeavors; can you tell us a little about your fundraising experiences?

Ann (Laura's mother): It's been about 10 years since we became involved with the Patient-Runner Connection. Laura Dempsey, another member of the Run for Research team, ran for many years for Laura. They formed a bond almost like sisters. We did mostly a letter writing campaign at that time. The year Laura died we requested donations in lieu of flowers. I believe Laura Dempsey made it to the #3 fundraising spot that year. The timing was key, April 4th.

Another year we did $15 for 15 years campaign. Laura's cousin, Kelly ran and then Cara, Laura's sister and Kati, Laura's best friend. Cara hosted a gathering in a bar in Southie, a great place for the ALF! They had tons of raffles and did well. It ended up being a rally of sorts.

Last year, when we were matched with Pat, our family participated in a fundraising event. Pat made all the arrangements for the event, so it was not our hard work, but Pat's. We participated by getting folks to come. He put an ad in the newspaper and it really drew people out. It was at Harrington's Pub in Wakefield. Our family and friends came to show support. This year should be a good one considering what happened last year.

Most runners who sign up for the Patient-Runner Connection expect to gain inspiration and friendships through this program, not necessarily fundraising partners. Were you surprised last year when the Linehan family not only offered to help in your fundraising, but to co-host a fundraising event?

Pat: After meeting Ann and Jim, I was so impressed with how active they were with ALF and how dedicated they are to helping others with liver disease. The fundraising event we held was a total success in every way. I got to meet so many of the Linehan family and friends, and the genuine appreciation for keeping Laura's memory alive was heart-warming.

Ann, you mentioned being involved with a number of charitable causes, where you often find yourself asking the same family and friends for donations, which I think is a concern many people have. How did participating in the fundraising for Pat differ from say writing a letter or sharing Pat’s fundraising page through social media?

Ann: Social media, especially Facebook, is a great resource. However, it is nice to have people come out and cheer your runner on at a fundraising event rather than just write a check. As I mentioned, this outlet really let’s everyone come out to show support and becomes a rally for Pat and Laura.

Running in memory of Laura, someone who would have been close to your own age, I’m sure has been an emotional experience. How has getting to know the Linehan family and having them support you through fundraising and training added to your marathon experience?

Pat: Training for the marathon is truly the easy part when I see what families who have a loved one with liver disease endure. I often think about that during long training runs when I begin to get tired, it is very motivating to me.

Page updated: March 10th, 2015