May 10, 2013
Kim Howard won The 2012 Richard Hackel award for raising $10,331 for the Angel Fund! We recently asked her who she runs for and how she fundraises so successfully. She also shares her Boston Marathon experience. We look forward to seeing Kim again on race day!
Who are you running for? Why do you run the Harpoon 5-Miler?
I am running in honor of my uncle, Robert Marder, who lost his battle with ALS on 1/2/2010. He wasn’t just my uncle, but one of my best friends and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him and wish he was still with us. My uncle was an avid runner for the majority of his life, yet I didn’t start my running career until after his death. I turned to running about 2 years ago when dealing with my own personal crisis and I like to think that he passed on the running ‘bug’ to me. For me, the Harpoon 5-miler is a perfect way to honor my uncle’s memory while also raising money to fund research for a cure.
Is there something you’d like to share about your experience with the disease?
My uncle was diagnosed and died from ALS within a year. He was a runner and very fit and his fitness and physicality helped him fend off the symptoms of ALS a lot longer than many people. It also, unfortunately, made it harder to diagnose until late in the game for him. He was still able to exercise for the first few months after his diagnosis, but eventually a few falls made that impossible and that was the beginning of the end for him. The hardest part for me was not only watching his decline, but having my son, Dylan, who adored his “Nuncle Bobby” watch along with me. Dylan was 3 when he died, but now at 7 he still talks about him and how he is a star up in the sky looking down on us, the brightest star. The last time I saw my uncle respond in any way to stimulus was the day before he died, when my son crawled into his hospice bed with him.
How many years have you participated in the Harpoon 5-Miler?
This will be my second Harpoon 5-miler. Last year I ran with my uncle’s face on my shirt and I set a PR. I hope to beat that this year.
How did you fundraise last year, what made you so successful?
My fundraising efforts last year were via email and Facebook and I think I was successful because I have a lot of really amazing, generous friends and family. I was the top fundraiser last year, which was a pretty amazing experience, and the best part was being invited by the Angel Fund to see Dr. Brown’s lab at UMass Medical and all the groundbreaking research they are doing. My aunt, his wife, came with me. This was particularly special to me as an employee of the University. It was pretty cool to have all my worlds coming together for a cause that is so important to me.
What are your goals this year?
This year I am hoping to beat my time from last year – it won’t be easy but I know my uncle will be there with me in spirit, cheering me on.
What are your fundraising plans?
I am going to do the same things I did last year and hope it works again for me! If you’d like to donate to Kim’s page in honor of her uncle, please visit her page.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Last month I ran the Boston Marathon for the first time. It was an amazing experience until it wasn’t anymore. I was running with a pin of my uncle on my shoulder and my son, along with my brother and his family, were all waiting for me at the finish line. They were less than a block away from both bombs. I truly believe my uncle was there keeping us all safe – we were the lucky ones. It was a pretty terrifying experience, and this will be my first road race since that day. I can’t think of a more fitting way to get my running legs back under me.