Why I’m Running: Kaylene Murphy is running Boston after undergoing major surgery in December

"I will be proudly running for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of my Mom who taught me what true strength and resiliency are and for Spencer, a kid I met at the hospital who taught me to not let anything in life slow you down."

Kaylene Murphy.
Kaylene Murphy. –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: Kaylene Murphy
Age: 21
From: Moscow, Maine
Bib #: 25238

A few months ago I thought I would never be able to run the marathon this year. After undergoing major surgery in December, I spent seven weeks in the hospital. Many setbacks made my goal of running this year seem impossible.

From the day I was admitted I kept my marathon acceptance letter hanging in front of my bed, and I wore all my Dana-Farber shirts. The whiteboard at the end of my bed kept a countdown until the marathon: 136 days.

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One day during my admission, I ambitiously decided to walk from the 10th floor of Children’s Hospital to Dana-Farber, totaling 0.3 of a mile. When I reached the Dana-Farber building, I was exhausted, winded, and discouraged. Days until the marathon: 106.

Standing outside the Jimmy Fund clinic and being inside DFCI was a reminder that my problems paled in comparison to those being treated there. It reminded me of going to my mom’s chemotherapy treatments when I was 13. It reminded me how many people fight to live every day. It reminded me of the reason I run.

I changed my training plan, goals, and attitude. I realized how lucky I was to have legs that work and lungs that breathe. I walked 2 miles around the hospital a day, many times to Dana-Farber and back. I did lunges down the hallway and walked up and down the piano stairs more times than I can count. Days until the marathon: 100.

After 46 days I was finally released from the hospital to begin my recovery and training. I was determined more than ever to run Boston. I will be proudly running for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in memory of my Mom who taught me what true strength and resiliency are and for Spencer, a kid I met at the hospital who taught me to not let anything in life slow you down. Days until the marathon: 33.

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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.