Raising money for the Spina Bifida Warriors of New England.

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Falmouth team 2017

With a week away from the biggest fundraiser for the Spina Bifida Association of Greater New England (SBAGNE), the Falmouth Road Race (FRR), I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the people that I will be running alongside! This year, along with myself and my husband, my dearest friend Robyn will be running with us too!

All of these people are being affected by Spina Bifida in some way and are coming together in this powerful showing of support to raise money for the an organization that benefits the Spina Bifida Warriors of greater New England.

So, in no particular order, let’s meet these amazing people and learn why they’re running…

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Dave

This is Dave.  He runs the race every year in remembrance of his college roommate Mike.  Dave says, “Mike was s great guy, awesome roommate and a ton of fun.  When Mike passed away it was all I could do to keep running, raising funds and keeping his name alive.”

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Matt & Grace

“My name is Matt and I have been running for SB every year, but one, since 2009. I run for SBAGNE and for my daughter; Grace was born with SB back in 2000 and I can’t tell you how important SBAGNE has been in our lives since then! SBAGNE has been such an important resource for use as we learned about SB and got to know so many fantastic people living with SB just like us!”

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Dan, Tim & Liam

“My name is Dan. My son Liam (2 years old) was born with SB so I run for him and all the other children, adults & families that have been impacted by SB. And of course to support SBAGNE!! In just 2+ years the group has already been such a great resource and source of support/platform to connect with other families & children affected by SB.”

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Caitlin

“I’m Caitlin (or Cait) and have been running with SBAGNE for eight years now. My brother, Patrick, has Spina Bifida and I run in his name every year, and for all those who are affected. SBAGNE has always been an important part of our family, especially when we were young – I have very fond memories of chilling out at ‘wheelchair sports’, which was my brother’s favorite thing to do on Saturday mornings. “

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Dan, Kevin, Brian & Katie
“My name is Brian. Back in 2002, I helped put the original ‘Team MSBA’ together (we hadn’t yet expanded from MA to New England) to run the Boston Marathon.  Over the course of three years, the team raised a ton of money and awareness. And we made some great friends – Dave was a part of that crew.  We moved on to Falmouth in 2005, and we’ve been enjoying this great tradition ever since. “
“My wife, Cara, and I have been quite involved with the spina bifida community in New England since shortly after our oldest daughter, Katie (now a junior at Merrimack College) was born with spina bifida in 1998. We each had a turn or two as both Vice President and President of the chapter and I served on the National SBA board. The organization has been an amazing resource for our family – providing resources, answers, and lasting friendships. “
“My two sons, Dan and Kevin, have been running Falmouth with me the last few years.  I can still keep up with only one of them. Dan is soon to be a freshman at Boston College and Kevin will be a freshman at North Andover High School.  It makes me very proud to see them giving back to the community to honor their big sister. She has inspired us all.  One day, I hope our youngest daughter, Laura (11), might also join the team. “
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Kim, Hannah & family
Kim & Hannah are running for the first time. “We are so happy to be part of the team. This will be the first time Hannah and I are running Falmouth and we are so looking forward to it. My son Ryan ran Falmouth in honor of his brother Sean twice in the past for the team back in 2006 & 2007. We have been involved with SBAGNE for many years even back when it was just MA. Hannah and I have done many fundraisers for this group over the years (pocketbook and jewelry parties) and now it’s our turn to tackle Falmouth! Sean is frequent customer of Children’s this is the first opportunity we have had a break in action so to speak so we are taking every advantage to run for Sean!”
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Amy & Tyler
“My name is Amy & this will be my second year running this race with my hubby Steve. Last year we ran in the Duo Division & I pushed Tyler in our first race! So much fun, BUT Tyler is 12 now & too cool for school so, no pushing this year 😂 I run for my son, but also for everyone living with SB!  I am the Vice Chair on the BOD for SBAGNE & think this is my favorite event that we do!! I am a CPT & spend my time working with clients & teaching classes!”  Amy will also be dedicating her run this year to her dear friend Chris who recently passed away from brain cancer.
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Meredith’s daughter Samantha
Meredith is running for the first time as well. She is running for her 9 year old daughter, Samantha, that was born with spina bifida.
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Emily

Emily is running for the first time this year too. “I have enjoyed reading everyone’s stories so far. This is my first year running the Falmouth Road Race. I am running for my son Luke who will be 5 at the end of July. He is a neat kid with a HUGE personality. I have family and friends who encouraged me to run this year and will also be running this year.”

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Rich’s daughter Anna

Rich is running for his daughter Anna. “My name is Rich and I have been running Falmouth for my daughter Anna and all those impacted by SB for the past 8 -9 years.  And, with the exception of 2016, I have run Falmouth every year since 1996.   I orginally got a number to run as a volunteer at the start line for several years and also ran for CFF (Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) for a couple of years.  So, yes…the Falmouth Road Race is in my blood!”

“Our daughter Anna is an identical triplet; Anna and her sisters Allie and Emily were born in 2007.  We received the “I see three babies” news just six months after our first daughter Abigail was born still on June 4, 2006.  Because there was no explanation for Abigail’s death, we were given the go ahead to have another pregnancy when we were ready.”
“So…after receiving the shocker that Sarah was pregnant with identical triplets, we were told that Baby B (Anna) had spina bifida. I went from learning about stillbirth (which I know nothing about) to learning about SB, which I knew nothing about.  Despite the prognosis at the time that Anna would “best case be able to walk with assistance (braces, walker, etc.)” Anna has beaten the odds! Her myelomeningocele (around S1) has limited her a bit in terms of physical activity, but she is able to do most things girls her age enjoy – dancing, swimming, etc.”
Jackie says, “This is going to be my first year running Falmouth and I am beyond excited! I was inspired to run with this team after hearing about previous years through my coworkers, from what I have heard it is a blast and everyone seems to really enjoy it. I currently work at Boston Children’s Hospital in the Urology department. On Fridays I get to help out with the Spina Bifida Clinic in Waltham. Throughout my time here I have been able to really connect with some of the patients and families that come to our office!” (not pictured)
Kristen is also running the race for someone special in her life.  She says,  “This will be my 5th FRR running with SPAGNE. I run in memory of my son, Ben who was stillborn and would have been affected by SB had he lived a single day. This year Ben would’ve turned 13. I’m awed and inspired by each of you whom by the grace of God have kept Ben’s life purposeful, meaningful and very much an ongoing part of my life.” (not pictured)
As you can see, we all have a story, someone special to run for and all for a great cause!  I know I will be thinking about everyone I have met along the way in my Spina Beautiful journey. I’ll put one foot in front of the other in honor of those who are a little less fortunate then myself and show everyone that even though I have Spina Bifida I can conquer this 7miles like a champ!  Go team!

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