Readers Say

After recovering from a stroke, Tim Rafferty is running the Boston Marathon

"Crossing the finish line wearing my Spaulding jersey will be a real celebration of life."

Tim Rafferty is running to raise money for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital where he recovered from a stroke.

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: Tim Rafferty
Age: 38
From: Boston

On October 25, 2019, I entered the gym like I would most days. The only difference — I had no idea that my life was just minutes away from changing forever. I suffered a hemorrhagic stroke that would result in paralysis of my left side.

Upon arrival at the hospital, the prognosis was grim, “It seems unlikely you’ll ever regain movement in your left side” said the first doctor. It went unsaid, but you could feel everyone’s heartbreak including my own as tears began to stream down my face.


After a stay at [Brigham and Women’s Hospital], I was admitted to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. My therapy goals were discussed during my first evaluation session. I was barely walking even with the help of a cane. I shared with my team how much I enjoyed an active lifestyle prior to my stroke and would love to return to running, snowboarding, bike riding, CrossFit, etc. To my surprise, he looked at me, smiled, and said, “No problem, Tim, those seem reasonable to me.”

I hate to admit but I didn’t believe him. However, in just over a year’s time, under the care of my Spaulding heroes, I accomplished all those things! I’m running the marathon for them and all the folks that have believed in me along the way!

My recovery has been a real blessing and having the ability to utilize my results to give back and raise money to help others in the future means everything to me. Crossing the finish line wearing my Spaulding jersey will be a real celebration of life and a testament that given determination and a great support system, anything is possible.

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


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