BENEFITING: NEXT STEP FUND INC
ORGANIZER: NEXT STEP FUND INC
EVENT: 2015 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 20, 2015
It is truly an honor and a blessing to run the 2015 Boston Marathon with the Next Step Team. Next Step is a family and a launching pad for young people coping with chronic life-threatening illnesses during their transition to adulthood and into an adult healthcare system. At Next Step, young adults receive top notch services-- from music therapy to education-- so they can continue their paths to reaching their full potential personally and professionally.
The symbolism of the marathon makes it the perfect event to rally support for this organization. Our team is in a long process of training for the marathon, as infamous for pain and insanity as it is for wherewithal and achievement. Unlike our small running troupe, there is no finish line for the young adults served by Next Step. These participants are running a lifetime marathon for which they did not sign up, nor does it come with the roaring support of spectators and the glory of purposely pushing the body beyond its limits. For young adults on their marathon course with HIV, cancer, rare genetic diseases, and sickle cell, Next Step are the coaches, aid stations, cheering spectators, and teammates.
My marathon started in 2015. A stiff neck and swollen knee turned out to be my first, and very nasty, flare up with ankylosing spondylitis. Many times it has been a difficult and even life-threatening, journey but I consider myself to be unfathomably lucky to be where I am today. In my first year with AS, most things, let alone running, were totally impossible. I have been able to live the life I thought I lost, and do the impossible while living with chronic illness. Without the medicine, therapy, and support that has bolstered me for the past 14 years, I would be nowhere near the life I love today. For these reasons, my running for Next Step is very personal and emotional. I know firsthand that their programs are the vital components of a successful and fulfilling life as a young adult with chronic, life-threatening illness. If my gutting it out for 26.2 miles can continue to support existing and new Next Step participants, I'll run the course forwards and backwards. I'll relish in the miracle that I'm able to do it and give back to the miracle that is Next Step.
NEXT STEP FUND INC wrote -
We are back! All of us at Next Step are extremely grateful and thrilled to be awarded four spots in the 119th Boston Marathon through the John Hancock Nonprofit Marathon Program for a second year in a row! On April 20, 2015, our dedicated four-person team will run with smiles and huge hearts on behalf of Next Step and our youth living with chronic life-threatening diseases.
Our 2015 Boston Marathon team is running so that we can welcome more youth than ever into the Next Step community, and ultimately, help them transition successfully to adulthood and into an adult healthcare system.
What does this really mean?
Next Step programming is FREE to attend for youth living with HIV, cancer and rare genetic diseases. Our youth participate in year-round programming that includes:
- music therapy
- Residential summer conferences
- personal growth & leadership workshops
- job-readiness projects through media
- resume & cover letter consultation
- interview training
How do we do it?
We offer year-round programming at our new home, Next Step Central, in the Central Square neighborhood of Cambridge, MA.
Next Step youth are also given the opportunity to attend a week-long youth leadership conference every summer where we connect them with peers with similar medical challenges and professionals who truly "get it".
Please consider donating to our 2015 Boston Marathon team and help Next Step youth move beyond asking "Why Me" to "What's Next" when mapping out their future.
Thank you so much for your amazing support. You are truly changing lives!