Why I’m Running: Ellen Papcsy is running Boston for her dad

"My Dad was an amazing Dad, he was constantly proud of me and loved and supported our family."

Ellen Papcsy. —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.

Name: Ellen Papcsy
Age: 26
From: South Boston
Bib #: 26390

I ran my first Boston Marathon with the American Liver Foundation in 2016 in honor of my Dad who battled liver disease for more than a decade. When I joined the team I had felt alone in what my family and I went had been through, but what I found was a welcoming community of support.

My Dad was an amazing Dad, he was constantly proud of me and loved and supported our family. He stood on the sidelines of every soccer game, rain or shine. However, he struggled with alcoholism and was diagnosed with liver disease more than a decade ago. He stopped drinking but for years we watched him deteriorate until he was sick enough to get a new liver. Though he was lucky to receive a liver transplant, he continued to struggle with health issues in the years that followed.


In 2016 he was able to watch me run the marathon in his honor at mile 16. Six weeks after the marathon, my Dad passed away, but the American Liver Foundation was able to give both my Dad and I an experience of a lifetime. When he was sick he would say, ‘I just want to see my daughter graduate high school,’ and then college. He was able to do both those things but also watch me complete the Boston Marathon in his honor.

I continue to run for my Dad so that those who struggle from liver failure will one day not have to be “sick enough” to receive a transplant and so that families like mine don’t need to see their loved ones on death’s door before they are able to receive a lifesaving organ.

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


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