BENEFITING: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
ORGANIZER: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital
EVENT: 2013 Boston Marathon
EVENT DATE: Apr 15, 2013
Mileage Tracker: 109
My name is Suzie Oliveira, and I am proud to say that I am running on behalf of Spaulding Rehab in the 2013 Boston Marathon. My story is one of hope and survival, and I am forever grateful to the staff at Spaulding for giving my daughter a life worth living against all odds.
I grew up as one of seven children in Wakefield Massachusetts, and have lived here all of my life. My mother immigrated from Egypt and my father was a hard working man of Armenian descent who raised us children to believe in the importance of family unity and diligence. The values that my parents have raised me with are the same values that I have worked hard to instill in my two children, Joe and Mary Jo, who I am proud to say will continue passing on these values to their children. Both my children, now 28 and 27 have grown up to be every mother's dream. Joe has graduated from ITT tech with honors, and currently works as an IT Support Specialist at the United States Department of Transportation. Mary Jo, my youngest has now been married for the past five years to Steve, a man I am proud to call my son-in-law. She has also graduated from college in business administration and psychology with honors from Regis College. My husband Joe and I have been married now for the past 29 years, and look forward to spending our golden years basking in the pride we have in our children.
Despite having everything a parent can ask for, on August 9, 2010 our pride turned to fear after we received a phone call in the middle of the night regarding our youngest child, Mary Jo. Mary Jo had gone to Atlantic City with her girlfriend to celebrate her beginning graduate school the following month. On the drive home, Mary Jo's car went out of control on a remote highway in Connecticut. Her car slammed against the guardrail once it finally came to a halt, pinning Mary Jo's leg against the guard rail as the car split in half. If it weren't for a state trooper who happened to be in the area when her friend and passers by called 911, we would have lost our daughter that night. The officer was able to put a tourniquet on her leg to stop her from bleeding to death. She was brought to the hospital, and the only way to save her life was to amputate her left leg. As my husband and I drove to the hospital that night, every fear one could imagine went through our minds. Was our daughter going to make it? Would she ever walk again? What kind of quality of life would she have from this point forward? Once we got there, all we could do was just embrace her and thank our lucky stars she was going to live.
Once she was stabilized after spending that first week in the hospital, she could be transported back to Boston where she could get the best care as well as the ongoing support from family and friends. Mary Jo asked to be transferred to Spaulding Rehab, as it is known to be the best in the country. From her hospital bed, she was able to advocate for herself in order to have the insurance coverage she needed to get there, keeping true to the family value of working hard to get what you want. From that day forward, I feel my life and my daughter's life is forever indebted to Spaulding Rehab. Upon arrival, Mary Jo was shown to a private room in order to preserve her dignity. She was treated with the utmost kindness and respect from the entire staff, including the doctors. They worked on her speech, as her memory had been effected from the accident. They gave her physical therapy, occupational therapy, and she was seen by a psychiatrist to work through issues of trauma that she had sustained from the accident. They helped her to learn how to balance herself, use the stairs, use the wheelchair, how to cook, and how to do activities of daily living that most people take for granted. They also taught her and I other caregivers how to take care of her in areas such as wound dressing and physical and emotional support. In short, they gave me my daughter back.
I am proud to say that after only two weeks, Mary Jo was able to return home. Against all odds, she continued on to attend graduate school as planned and made the dean's list. I have been trying to think of a way I could pay Spaulding back for all they have done for my family and me. This is my chance.
I have been working with a personal trainer since the spring of 2010. In 2011 I decided to begin training for marathon running after my daughter told me she wished she could sprint but couldn't. I ran in the 2012 Boston Marathon as a bandit runner, and completed in 6 hours and 22 minutes. I was planning on running again, but this year was the year that I found out I could run for a purpose. A friend of mine informed me that Spaulding Rehab sponsors runners for the Boston Marathon, and right away I wanted to find out how I can join their team and pay them back for the miracles they have given me. I am proud to say that I was accepted, and now I am running for a cause, one that I believe in and one that I will be forever grateful. I am asking for your donation to help me support a cause that is real. For me, if it weren't for Spaulding Rehab my story may not be as successful as it is. Please help me in helping those who help put families back together.