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For almost 15 years, marathon runners have been a vital part of Good Shepherd’s fundraising efforts. Together, marathon runners have helped raise more than $56,000 for our broad range of hospice, palliative care and bereavement programs. Donations complement the insurance reimbursement we receive, ensuring that we can continue to deliver the unique and compassionate care we are dedicated to providing. Several of our programs receive limited or no reimbursement and operate with a deficit annually. Nevertheless, for 46 years and running (pun intended!), Good Shepherd has earned a reputation for providing the highest quality of care and education for those experiencing or anticipating serious illness and loss, and crucial support for those who are grieving.
This year, we are thrilled to have 2 marathon runners supporting Good Shepherd. Hospice Nurse, Rachel Mathewson, will run the 128th Boston Marathon in support of our children’s grief program, HEARTplay. Longtime Board Member, Stephen Campbell, will run the 16th Providence Marathon in support of the Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Residence, which recently provided care for his younger sister, Glennys.
Any donation, any size, will go a long way in supporting these vital programs. You literally make our mission possible through your support. Please help us reach our $20,000 goal!
This morning as I headed out on my weekly training long run, rain was pouring down in sheets and the wind was gusting. It was early morning in January and it was dark. This was an exercise as any in being present–I couldn’t fast forward to the culmination of my twelve mile run nor would I be luxuriating in the feeling of sinking into a good pace as I ran along Memorial Drive from Watertown, Cambridge, and into Boston. At the BU bridge, the city skyline was nearly invisible, shrouded in dense fog. The iconic Citgo sign that, on the marathon route marks the final mile leading to the last two turns, right on Hereford, left on Boylston, was a blurry glow. I sloshed back through the ankle-deep puddles now visible in the early gray light, droplets of water spraying out from my hat and gloves with each stride. My spirit was buoyed by the (very) few other passing runners. Our eyes would meet in solidarity and shared encouragement, the nod of a head or a wave. One woman extended her hand and we exchanged a high five, “Good job! Keep going!” She couldn’t finish my run any more than I could finish hers–and, yet, there was solace in knowing I was not out there alone. Despite the drenching rain and billowing wind, there were other graces, too–the overhanging tree branches offering gentle respite from the rain, the moment (at mile 11.5) that the rain let up, the cardinal that flew across my path. I arrived back home and my son greeted me at the door, a dry towel, a warm mug of hot coffee. I was drenched and happy, feeling grateful and so alive.
I am a mother, a runner, and a hospice nurse. My kids are 12, 10, and 8 and all have grown up knowing that my alarm goes off well before they wake and I head out to run. They have cheered me on from home and also at finish lines. When they were little, I would run laps at the community track with Nora in the running stroller while Nico and Teo would play in the field in the middle. Running has accompanied me through many chapters in my life, times of joy and anticipation, times of unimaginable fear. It is the grounding space in my very good and full life.
On Monday, April 15th, I will run the 2024 Boston Marathon in support of HEARTplay, a program of Good Shepherd Community Care, where I’ve been a nurse for over six years. HEARTplay’s mission is to support children, teens and young adults of all abilities and their families who are coping with the serious illness or death of an important person in their lives. As a hospice nurse, I am honored and privileged to work with patients and families at the end of life. The holistic nature of my work includes the grieving process for my patients’ loved ones, and I witness the crucial need for the specialized support for children and families that HEARTplay provides.
During the past program year, we experienced a 175% increase in referrals and registrations for our programs. Most participants share that they were not able to find the resources that we offer anywhere else, either locally or nationally.
While there is no formal reimbursement for our services, all of HEARTplay’s programs are provided at no cost. The grieving families supported by HEARTplay are supported by caring community donors like yourself. It would be my humble honor if you would make a donation to HEARTplay in support of my marathon run.
Rachel is running in support of HEARTplay, a free bereavement program for children, teens and young adults grieving the loss of a loved one in their lives. Learn more about HEARTplay
Recently, my beloved younger sister, Glennys, lost her battle with pancreatic cancer. In honor of her memory and the compassionate care she received during her final days, I have decided to run the 2024 Providence RI Marathon to raise funds for the Good Shepherd Community Care's Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Residence.
The Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Residence played a critical role in Glennys's journey, providing essential care and support during her illness. The dedicated staff at the Parlin not only provided her physical comfort but also offered emotional support that made a meaningful impact to her end-of-life care.
Glennys lived a full and enriching life. She graduated high school and dedicated 33 years to a fulfilling career with John Hancock Insurance. Her love for family was unparalleled, and she took pride in keeping everyone updated on the accomplishments of her nieces and nephews and our extended family. She was not just our sister; she was a friend and confidante to everyone who had the privilege of knowing her.
Any donation, no matter the size, will go a long way in honoring Glennys's memory and ensuring that others facing life-limiting illnesses receive the same level of care and compassion. Your support means the world to me and my family. Together, we can make a meaningful impact and celebrate the life of someone who brought joy and love to everyone she encountered.
Stephen is running in support of the Miriam Boyd Parlin Hospice Residence, which just recently celebrated its one year anniversary of re-opening. During that time, the Parlin has cared for over 100 patients at the end of their lives in a warm, home-like atmosphere. Learn more about the Parlin