Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Team Big Heart at the Second Annual MR8K Run for Gratitude

The Martin Richard Foundation helps young people to learn, grow and lead through volunteerism and community engagement. We look to advance sportsmanship, inclusion, kindness and peace.

By encouraging people to choose kindness, work for inclusion, and embrace diversity in local communities, we aim to influence a generation to live out these values through positive civic action.

We envision a place where people recognize the humanity in others and model the decency needed for a united, compassionate, and inclusive community.

Martin Richard died at the age of 8 years old at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon. His sister Jane lost a leg and his mother sustained serious injuries. Martin's father Bill had to leave his dying son to attend to his wife and daughter while ignoring his own injuries.

Joseph Scott Middlemiss died at the age of 6 years old in his father's arms from cardiomyopathy.

Each of these families could have turned their grief into rage and revenge for what was taken from them yet each chose to honor the legacies of their childrens' brief lives by establishing Foundations to create a kinder, more loving world.

The Mission Statement and Foundation Goals of The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation are:

The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation honors Joseph's message of "All You Need is Love" by spreading kindness, empowering children, funding cardiomyopathy research, and supporting families dealing with pediatric cardiac conditions.

1. To expand The Joseph Middlemiss "All You Need is Love" Mission, fostering the spread and documentation of Random Acts of Kindness on local, national, and international fronts. (

2. To educate children on the power of kindness by supporting the efforts of schools (creating and leading motivational assemblies, providing books and related resources), and by empowering students through scholarships for music and martial arts.

3. To contribute to research for and spread awareness of cardiomyopathy while providing financial, social, and emotional assistance to families impacted by these cardiac conditions.

Given the kindred spirits of these two Foundations, and how running is an integral part of their fundraising and community building efforts, it was natural for members of Team Big Heart to support The Martin Richard Foundation at Sunday's Second Annual MR8K Run for Gratitude.

We found Team Captains Linda Evans Gilbreth and Brad Gilbreth among the crowd at Boston Landing. We had a bit of an adventure getting a parkings pace and arrived later than we would have preferred but all's well that started well!

Laurie Miamis, another member of Team Big Heart found us and, we also "bumped" into Dr. Tim Carter who ran The Falmouth Road race with his daughter for The Joseph Middlemiss Big Heart Foundation.

I asked a random person in the crowd if he would take our photo:

The energy of love, kindness and community was palpable on a beautiful end of summer day in Boston.

We watched the kids' races and Tom snapped these two great photos that captured the joy of the day:

The announcer called the runners to the start. While I knew that I could have walked the 5 mile race, I was incredibly happy with my role as spectator and support crew.

There was a sea of MR8 singlets and shirts.

Pre-race announcements by Dave McGillivray and Bill Richard, Martin's father reminded us all of Martin's legacy of kindness and peace and what a gift and blessing it is to be healthy to get out and run a race. Peace signs became the order of the day,

Team Big Heart at the start:

A member of MR8 Team who was not running stopped me and said, "Hi Team Big Heart. They are awesome!"

He ran the Boston Marathon for Team MR8 and said that Team Big Heart had the best water stops during training and appreciated them being out ohn the course on Marathon Monday.

Alain Ferry came along with his wife Kat and adorable two girls. We go way back to when we volunteered together at the Runners World Heartbreak Hill Running Festival in 2014. He always has my back at a race! We chatted for a few minutes and they went on their way.

The starting line was transformed to the finish line. Dave McGillivray came over and we chatted about the day, his incredible Book Launch for Running Across America and how I love writing blogs that share the goodness and kindness happening in the world.

I love watching Dave doing what he does best - directing a race for a cause that he is deeply passionate about:

The excitement of the DMSE crew was building as they prepared to wepelcome back the first runner. I was able to catch him breaking the tape:

I cheered and led the crowd in a chant when Dave's son Luke came into the finish:

Thirteen year old Luke gives an epic performance when he runs and his smile lights up the world. He easily won his age group and finished 18th out of 964 finishers.

We cheered on the runners as they finished their 5 mile run through Brighton. Friends met up with finishers to take photos and joy, sweat, love, kindness and community filled the air at Boston Landing.

I was thrilled I was able to capture Laurie coming into the finish:

and spotted Tom coming into the finish to capture this action shot:

After crossing the finish line, we waited for Linda and Brad, debriefed about the race, hugged and said we would see each other in a few weeks at the 6th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K.

I took this photo of Tom with his bling:

Two families that experienced trauma and devastating loss have transformed tragedy into triumph; grief into goodness creating ripples of kindness throughout Boston and beyond!

On June 15, 2019, two years after its groundbreaking ceremony, Martin's Park was opened.

You'll need a wad of tissues watching Jane sing A Million Dreams at the Park's opening by following this link:

Bill Richard said he did not want the Park to be a Memorial but a loud, boisterous place where children of all abilities could play and imagine, and where adults could find peace and solace in the heart of Boston.

Here is Jane's moving speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Park:

Dave McGillivray gave Scott Middlemiss a bib for Boston shortly after the death of his son, to use running as therapy to emerge from the deep depression he experienced after Joseph's death. From one bib, Team Big Heart has grown exponentially. Team Big Heart raised over $250,000 with bibs they received for the 2019 Boston Marathon. With that money and money they raised from other races, they have funded all of their initiatives and were able to buy a van for a young man with mitochondrial disease so he could experience the joy of driving as any healthy teenager would.

We are a community of runners with BIG HEARTS supporting each other and the work of Foundations that were borne out of loss now creating kindness and beauty in the world.

On September 28th, Kate and Scott host the 6th Annual Middlemiss Big Heart 5K. The Race Director is Dave McGillivray supporting another cause near and dear to his heart.

More about that in my next blog post....

To hear Dave McGillivray in person inspiring as only he can, he is going to be speaking at Whiraway Sports Center in Methuen on September 11th. Follow this link to register.

To your health and wellness
From my heart to yours

Be sure to visit my website at

Hear my interview with Kendra Petrone on Magic 106.7's Exceptional Women Show by following this link

My books are available on Amazon and "Feel the Heal" and "The Adventures of Runnergirl 1953" are available in Natick Center Cultural District at Paula Romero Dunbar's Celebration Boutique Paper Fiesta coincidentally located on Mile 10 of the Boston Marathon Route.

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