For many people, April 15, 2013 is one of those days that they will remember forever. People remember exactly what they were doing around 2:50 p.m. on this day, when the Boston Marathon was bombed. I remember sitting in the car while my mother was in the grocery store. My brother called and made me go into the store to find her so that he could tell her that he and my other brother living in Boston at the time were safe. Just 13 years old, it was difficult to fully comprehend what was going on, but I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when my brother told her the news. It was a dreary couple of days while we stayed glued to the television, watching the investigation and the manhunt of the bombers unfold.
What was once just a marathon has turned into something so much greater. Boston came together during that horrific time, and now people gather for the marathon as a sign of united strength and to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost on that day.
Over the years, some of our very own Villanova students have run the marathon. Some are planning to run this year on Oct. 11. Sophomore Ryane Farrell will be participating in the 26.2 miles this coming marathon. Farrell is running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in honor of her mother who beat breast cancer in 2013 and ran the marathon in 2007.
“The excellent doctors and research at Dana-Farber saved my Mom’s life and helped my family stay positive and strong throughout her treatment,” Farrell said about why she chose to run the Boston Marathon. “While running a marathon has always been a personal goal of mine, having the opportunity to run for my mom through Dana-Farber makes it even more special.”
Farrell has been training all summer, and while many students have been going to classes these past couple of months, she has continued her training amid the chaos and challenges of being a college student. Farrell admits that she owes her motivation to all of her supporters and donors. For Dana-Farber, she set a goal of raising $9,000 for the Claudia Adams Barr Program, which goes directly to basic cancer research at Dana-Farber Institute. Farrell explained that people from all over the United States, including many from the Villanova community, “have donated and left [her] with positive messages cheering [her] on and sharing their stories. Each step of the way, [she] thinks about [her] mom’s fight and all of these special people which help power [her] through the run.”
Farrell, like many others, remembers the day of the Boston bombing, having come off the bus from school and presented with the tragic news. She said that her “heart was absolutely broken for everyone there,” but explained that “as Boston has proved, we are Boston Strong...I am proud to be Boston Strong. Even after Covid took away the typical April marathon Monday, we are proving that we can do this in October.”
As if running a marathon was not enough in itself, Farrell is helping so many people through the Dana-Farber Institute, and being a prime example of their saying that, “together, we’re headed toward the ultimate finish line: a world without cancer.”
Farrell cannot wait for Oct. 11 “to run in honor of [her] amazing mom and all of [her] special donors and teammates.”
For all those in the Boston area on Oct. 11, make sure to look out for Farrell as she achieves a goal that many merely wish they could while helping people in profound ways.