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Amy Comander is running to support cancer patients impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

"As a breast oncologist, the pandemic has been particularly challenging for my patients with cancer."

Amy Comander has cared for COVID-19 patients and cancer patients impacted by the pandemic. Now she's running Boston to raise money for Team Ellie.

In our “Why I’m Running” series, Boston Marathon runners share what’s inspiring them to make the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to Boston. If you’re running the marathon, you can share your story here.

Name: Amy Comander
Age: 46
From: Newton

For the first time since 1897, the Boston Marathon was not held on Patriots’ Day last April. This was a great disappointment, but as a physician who has cared for patients with COVID-19, I knew that safeguarding the health of our community must take precedence over the race. Last year’s cancellation of the Boston Marathon, an event I look forward to each year, was yet another example of an iconic community celebration that was not possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 124th Boston Marathon was a virtual event, which included 18,000 participants from all 50 states and nearly 100 countries. It is truly incredible that in the midst of this pandemic, all of these individuals demonstrated such impressive resilience and determination. It was my privilege to run last year’s virtual marathon with my physician colleague, Dr. Gaby Hobbs, who ran her first-ever Boston Marathon as a virtual race! I am incredibly proud of my friend Gaby, and thrilled that she is running this year, and she will get to experience the race in person!


As a breast oncologist, the pandemic has been particularly challenging for my patients with cancer. During these past 18 months, my patients have been unable to bring their loved ones to their medical visits or chemotherapy appointments. When admitted to the hospital, my patients have not been allowed visitors. My patients with compromised immune systems have had to take extra precautions to avoid the risk of exposure to COVID-19.

This year I am running the Boston Marathon as a member of Team Ellie. The Ellie Fund is a local non-profit organization that provides essential support for those receiving treatment for breast cancer. The mission of the Ellie Fund is to provide support services, free of charge, to individuals with breast cancer, in order to ease the stresses of everyday life, allowing the focus to be on family, recovery, and healing. I am incredibly grateful to the Ellie Fund for providing assistance to many of my own patients during the course of treatment — especially over this past year.

This year’s Boston Marathon will be held during October, which is “Breast Cancer Awareness” month. It is my honor to run Boston as a member of Team Ellie, in order to support this incredible organization and honor my own patients. This year, more than ever, Amby Burfoot’s famous quote, and my mantra rings true: “Every mile out there is a gift and every finish line is a gift.”


Editor’s note: This entry may have been lightly edited for clarity or grammar.


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