Why I’m Running: Lumina Gershfield Cordova is running Boston to help foster kids reconnect with their siblings

"I'm running because I was a foster kid. I know the feeling of being separated from those you love most."

Lumina Gershfield Cordova. —Courtesy

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 on April 16, 2018. Editor’s note: Due to the number of submissions already received, we are no longer accepting entries for this year’s race.

Name: Lumina Gershfield Cordova
Age: 40
From: Somerville
Bib #: 26985

When I ran Heartbreak Hill on my 21-mile training run, I somehow smiled through it. I realize now that I learned how to smile through Heartbreak when I was a foster child. I am running my first marathon and fundraising for The Lenny Zakim Fund and their grantee Sibling Connections. Sibling Connections helps siblings separated in foster care reconnect with each other at the summer camp “To Belong MA.”

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I’m running because I was a foster kid. I know the feeling of being separated from those you love most. For kids in foster care, waking up and getting through one day feels like a marathon. Without their mom, dad, and siblings, heartbreak is a constant obstacle. These kids need strength to put one foot in front of the other every single day.

Now I am the parent of two young children myself; I want to give them a different childhood than I had. They are age 6 and 4. It takes courage and determination to heal from childhood, to be a champion for my kids. I find strength in running, and it has been so fun to have my kids and husband cheer for me. I love hearing my kids saying, “When I run the marathon…” as a regular phrase at the dinner table lately. My kids have helped me raise money and now they know what giving to charity means. Running the marathon has brought me mental health and gratitude that helps me be the mother, wife, sister, and friend I want to be. Please help me raise $7,500 for The Lenny Zakim Fund and Sibling Connections.

Check out our entire “Why I’m Running” series.

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