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Former Patient Runs to Support Shriners Children’s Boston

Matthew with his 2020 Boston Marathon medal

Former Shriners Children’s Boston patient, 35-year-old Matthew, made a personal dream come true a couple years ago: He ran the Boston Marathon.

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement of the beloved sporting event in 2020, organizers decided to host the marathon in a different way. Qualified participants could choose their own route and their own race day from September 7-14.

Matthew was triumphant in running the 26.2 miles, establishing his own race route so he could cross the finish line at Shriners Children’s Boston on 51 Blossom Street. Matthew spent months training for the marathon, logging more than 1,192 miles and 420 hours. Matthew ran his race on Sunday, September 13 – crossing the finish line right outside the hospital where he spent time as a patient.

With fond memories of the friendships formed and care received at Shriners Children’s Boston, Matthew raised funds for the facility as part of his marathon experience. “I told my grandparents if I win the lottery, I would donate money to Shriners Children’s Boston. Although running 26.2 miles is not the lottery, this was an opportunity for me to support the hospital,” Matthew said.

Matthew’s relationship with Shriners Children’s Boston began in July of 1989 when he was just 2 years old. A horrific incident left his hand with third-degree burns and significant disfigurement. Matthew was seen at St. Joseph’s Hospital in New Hampshire, then rushed to Shriners Children’s Boston. Matthew remained a patient for over 15 years. He had skin grafts, fused joints, physical therapy, general therapy and dozens of surgeries to reconstruct his right hand.

Matthew spent several years of his young life in an orphanage until his grandparents brought him to live with them when he was 7. Now that Matthew is an adult, he looks back on the many positive memories he has as a patient in Boston. These memories include close relationships with his doctors, nurses and other patients from around the world who became like family. Matthew also highlights some unforgettable experiences while he was a patient, including meeting Boston Red Sox players, attending Red Sox games in amazing seats and meeting other Boston athletes.

Matthew said, “As I look back at my difficult start in life, I realize that, in many ways, it’s not what happens to you in life, but what you DO with what happened to you. That concept really pushes me to do good in this world.”

As I look back at my difficult start in life, I realize that, in many ways, it’s not what happens to you in life, but what you DO with what happened to you. That concept really pushes me to do good in this world.
Matthew, Boston

Matthew started running regularly in 2008 and decided to use the Boston Marathon to raise funds for Shriners Children’s Boston. First, Matthew had to qualify for the marathon. He participated many times in Lowell’s Baystate Marathon in an effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Then in 2020, Matthew’s friend Tanya made his dream come true by securing a bid for him to participate in the race that year.

Establishing his own finish line at Shriners Children's Boston when the race had to be reimagined was a fitting way for Matthew to highlight his appreciation for the hospital where he spent so much time as a child.

Thank you Matthew for everything you do to support Shriners Children’s Boston.

Matthew is excited to be an early member of the Patient Alumni Network. The Patient Alumni Network was formed in 2022 as part of Shriners Children's 100th Anniversary Celebration. The goal of this new network is to connect former patients with each other and provide opportunities for them to share their stories and accomplishments with other patients, Shriners, donors and the public.

Meet Matthew

Former Shriners Children's Boston patient Matthew is an early member of the Patient Alumni Network.

Young Matthew

Matthew as a child, recovering from a burn injury.

Matthew taking a break during training

Matthew takes a break after a marathon training session.

Matthew in front of hospital

Matthew at his 2020 Boston Marathon finish line – in front of Shriners Children's Boston.

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