A Brunswick family traveled to Boston last month to run in their first marathon and support the hospital that helped save their young daughter’s life.
Kim and Ryan Harrington, of Brunswick, were living in Boston five years ago when their daughter Kelly was born 3 1/2 months early. She weighed less than 2 pounds.
“When I went to the hospital, they gave her a 1 percent chance at life after delivery,” Kim said. “She was in the hospital for 180 days.”
Kelly was also on oxygen support for the first year of her life. Today, she’s a happy and healthy little girl, thanks to the staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Kim said.
“The support and caring was phenomenal,” Kim said. “We always look for ways to give back to them for it.”
When the family moved to Brunswick, it was a homecoming for Kim, who graduated from Brunswick High School in 1995. Ryan is originally from Boston and the couple has remained close to their family there.
In 2013, when homemade bombs rocked the finish line at the Boston marathon, “We were both upset and frustrated,” Kim said. “We wanted to run the race this year and show our support for the city.”
The two applied to be a part of the team at Brigham and Women’s.
“Neither one of us are marathoners, and we applied among 400 applicants for 122 spots on the team,” Kim said.
The couple was accepted to be a part of the team and they began training and fundraising.
“We set a lofty goal of raising $20,000,” Kim said. “But it felt great to be running with this great cause behind us.”
But in March, with less than a month before the big race, Kim’s mother, Joan Clement, suffered an unexpected heart attack and stroke. Kim dropped her training and came to be by her mother’s side. Her mother seemed to be recovering and the family was working on transferring Joan to a rehab facility, but on March 27, Joan died.
“We thought she was on the mend and it hit our whole family very hard,” Kim said.
Kim said she thought about not running the race, but remembered all the high school and college track meets her parents attended and supported her in.
“My mom and dad were my biggest fans in high school and in college,” she said. “I knew my mom would want me to run.”
On April 21, both Ryan and Kim crossed the finish line in just under four hours.
On her legs, Kim wrote, “for you, mom.”
The finish line marked the end of an emotional journey, Kim said.
“I just feel like she was with me during that whole run,” she said.
Kim and Ryan have raised just more than $19,000 of their $20,000 goal. Donations still can be accepted on the hospital’s fundraising website at bit.ly/1fVEjMB.
Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or email@example.com.