In Your Area
Radhika, Rachel, and Kevin, who have been matched 1 year share their thoughts about the Patient-Runner Connection program.
Although you were part of the Run for Research team last year, neither of you were involved in the Patient-Runner Connection program. Was your marathon season different this year after becoming involved?
Radhika:We joined the team late last year and were not able to get a patient match. But this year we did and Kevin was definitely worth the wait. His great sense of humor and outgoing personality made it so easy to connect with him. His positivity, and at the same time authenticity, made a real impact in how we motivated, trained and ran on race day. When the going was especially tough that Monday, I would look at what Rachel and I had written on our running gear - "Run for Kevin" - and it kept us going. Knowing that he was waiting for us at mile 16 was a very real incentive. And knowing that we were running in part for him helped us get to the end.
Rachel: My marathon season was TOTALLY different being a part of the Patient-Runner Connection. It gave it all so much more meaning. I honestly started this year off expecting to be more on "auto-pilot" -- I'd gone through the training already, I didn't have as much money to raise, and I just had to get from beginning to end. I'm SO GLAD we were matched with Kevin, though -- it totally changed my experience. The mission moments always had an impact on me, but meeting Kevin, who has been dealing with liver disease for so many years, yet keeps such a great positive attitude, really gave me something to think about and push for on those long runs.
Kevin, you were initially skeptical about getting involved in the program. After being matched up with Radhika and Rachel, what advice do you have to other patients, who may be wondering if this program is for them?
Kevin: I was skeptical about getting involved but I thank God that I was teamed up with Radhika, Paul and Rachel. These ladies helped me through some tough times. My advice is to try it for yourself. You never know what friendships you might make. I, personally, am very grateful for my new friends! :)
You guys all went above and beyond in all things PRC; attending socials, meeting up in your free time, coming out for practice runs, regardless of what mother nature had to throw at us this year. What kept you so engaged in the program?
Rachel: Honestly, having the camaraderie of the team and doing it for Kevin. Rad, Paul and I do the long runs together, so I just knew I had to get out of bed and meet them so I wasn't letting them down. And for the socials and other program events, it was the opportunity to spend time with Kevin and other teammates and members of the liver family - everyone has a great story and is so friendly -- why wouldn't you want to be engaged in it? :)
Radhika: Knowing that we were not just running for ourselves but running as part of a larger community and cause helped us keep going on those long runs - especially when there is the temptation to be lazy or tired or scared. The socials and meeting up for PRC events was the fun part! Kevin (and Rachel and Paul) made it fun and easy and we just had an instant connection with Kevin that made it seem like we had been friends for ages.
Kevin: With the enthusiasm that Rachel, Radhika and Paul brought to the program, it was hard not to get involved. It was easy to want to go to the long runs, regardless of the weather, knowing the effort that they were putting in. If they could run 21 miles in the snow, I could certainly stand at the finish line to wait for them. I stayed involved, and will continue to, because I truly care for them.
The marathon season has ended and there are no “organized activities” in sight. What does this mean for your trio?
Rachel: WE'LL SEE EACH OTHER IN PUERTO RICO IN JUNE!!! KEVIN IS COMING TO MY WEDDING!! :) I'M SO EXCITED. :) And Kevin has invited us out to his house for a BBQ this summer, and also very graciously offered to help Tony and I build some shelves in our new house....so even if we don't have "organized activities," we have activities to organize!
Radhika: I am so excited to celebrate Rachel's big day and have Kevin there for it too! It just cements the fact that he is going to be one of our lifelong friends. He has even met my cat! (And he's not a cat person but humors my crazy cat lady side.) I'm very excited to continue to hang out, and now with the training season complete and the polar vortex over, it will be great to celebrate summer and great friendships.
Kevin: I look forward to going to Rachel and Tony’s wedding in Puerto Rico! J Life is good! I really want –and plan – to stay in touch with Radhika, Paul, Rachel and Tony. I truly feel I have been blessed and am grateful to all the people at the American Liver Foundation.