Last November, Assistant Swim Coach Breda O’Connor approached her boyfriend, Matt Callahan ’12, with an idea. Callahan’s cousin, Marc Fucarile, had been injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. O’Connor wanted to run the 2014 marathon to raise money for him.
“I told her that I thought it was a really good idea,” said Callahan, the Club Sports Coordinator at Brandeis. “She replied, ‘Great, because you’re running it with me.’”
The tragedy at the finish line last year shook the entire Boston community, but it struck a bit closer to home for Callahan’s family. Marc Fucarile was watching the race on Boylston Street with a few friends when the bombs went off. He lost his right leg and suffered severe burns and numerous broken bones. He was the last survivor to leave the hospital, and has undergone more than 50 surgeries since.
Fucarile is on the mend, but his medical costs are adding up. Visits to doctors, medication and lost wages have taken their toll, even with generous contributions from organizations such as the One Fund. According to an October feature in the Boston Globe, his prosthetic leg alone will cost at least $1.5 million to maintain over his lifetime.
Thus, Miles for Marc was born. Callahan, O’Connor, two other cousins and nine family friends will run Boston this year, with the goal of raising $50,000 to help with Fucarile’s medical costs. Callahan organized a bar crawl on Moody Street two weeks ago, and the team will host a Paint Nite on April 15th. That all builds up to the real test: 26.2 miles on April 21st.
“It’s really unbelievable what Matt, Breda, and everyone else have been doing,” Fucarile said. “The support from all of my friends and family, seeing them put in the work training to run, it’s all amazing.”
Callahan and O’Connor aren’t runners – Matt played two years of soccer at Brandeis, while Breda swam at Bentley. Callahan said that they’ve sought advice from the track coach, training staff, and others in the Athletic Department.
“We are new at this, but we’ve gotten a lot of help from everyone here,” Callahan said. “Kat Page, our fitness coordinator, has run a ton of marathons. She’s had great advice as far as setting up a training schedule and making sure we cross train and take certain days off. She’s been awesome. Everyone has.”
Brandeis students have been helpful as well: the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has helped raise money, and several individuals have donated.
“Everyone has been so encouraging,” O’Connor added. “We didn’t expect it to be this hard, but it’s been great having a support system.”
The fact that they’re running for Fucarile has helped give them an extra push as well.
“I’ve always wanted to run it,” O’Connor said. “I thought there was no better year to do it, no better city, and no better cause.”
Jeffrey Boxer Matt and Marc