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Richard Sheward is running to raise money for Children’s HealthWatch

"This fall, my finish line will be on Boylston Street overlooking Copley Square, but the finish line of Children’s HealthWatch is more aspirational."

Richard Sheward is running for Children’s HealthWatch, which aims to improve the health of young children and their families. Richard Sheward

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 #WhyImRunningBoston story here.

Name: Richard Sheward
Age: 35
From: Brookline, Mass.

Why I'm Running

While there are many reasons why I’m running the 2021 Boston Marathon, the one that matters most to me is being able to raise money for the amazing organization I work for, Children’s HealthWatch at Boston Medical Center. The mission of Children’s HealthWatch is to improve the health of young children and their families by informing equitable policies that address and alleviate economic hardships.

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Since 1998, we’ve interviewed over 75,000 families with infants and toddlers across five hospitals and clinics in U.S. cities. Through all of this data collection, we are able to better understand how hardships like food insecurity, housing instability, and policies that make up our social safety impact the health and development of young children.

The more I think about Children’s HealthWatch and the work we do, the more I realize how much it shares in common with the marathon. For many, there is a science behind running. Similarly, at Children’s HealthWatch we seek to test our hypotheses by collecting and analyzing data, interpreting and discussing the findings, and reporting our results in the peer-reviewed literature and in policy-oriented publications. For all the similarities between marathon training and the work of Children’s HealthWatch, there is one major difference — Children’s HealthWatch research informs decisions and public policies that impact the lives of millions of children and their families, whereas running is an individual pursuit with little consequence at the end of the day.

This fall, my finish line will be on Boylston Street overlooking Copley Square, but the finish line of Children’s HealthWatch is more aspirational. We will continue running this marathon to ensure children are healthy and capable of reaching their highest potential.

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

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