"Once you choose hope, anythings possible" - Christopher Reeve

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December 16, 2013

Welcome, and thank you for taking the time to visit our Boston Marathon 2014 website. 

Last October I decided to run the Boston Marathon with Team in Training to fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of an incredibly special boy, Mark Kotosky. Mark was diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia last October. He fought a hard fight and being the strong boy he is, I am extremely happy to say that today Mark is doing wonderfully, and is in remission. Aside from the cocktail of medications he takes each day, Mark and his family are back to their daily lives.

As a deferred runner from last year (you can read my experience form last year's Marathon in my post below), the BAA has graciously given myself and about 5,000 others an official number for this year. I have again joined Team In Training to run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This year, Adam is joining me as well! After being a dedicated water stop volunteer he decided that he wanted to join the cause and put himself through the long, freezing training runs to raise money for LLS. 

This year, we will again run for Mark; for his strength, perseverence and all the patients like him who are fighting this disease, and especially for a dear friend and incredible woman, Mary Paige who lost her battle with breast cancer this past September. Last year during the Marathon Mary was at Mile 6 cheering us on. 

This year's Boston Marathon has yet even more meaning. This year we will run for those who can't. For those who lost their lives last April; those who lost loved ones; those who lost limbs; those who still have trouble sleeping at night because of the horrific things they witnessed; those brave souls and first responders who ran to help those who were hurt.

On April 21, 2014 the Boston Marathon will be larger than ever. Thousands of runners and spectators will be out there showing the strength and resilience of the city of Boston and the worldwide running community.

Please consider supporting us in running the Boston Marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training!

April 20, 2013

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. On October 29, 2012, an incredible 14 year old boy, very close to my heart was diagnosed with Leukemia. Over the past 6 months, Mark and his family have shown incredible strength and perserverance. Despite the occasional bumps in the road, Mark has beat this. 

4 days after Mark was diagnosed, I decided that I would run the Boston Marathon in his honor, to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help find a cure and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Personally, it was a way for me to cope with this unfair, terrible thing that was happening. It helped take away some of the feeling of helpessness. 

It was one of the best experiences of my life. In joining Team in Training, I was able to meet a group of amazing people who took to running to help them cope, who wanted to make a difference, and who were willing to wake up at 6AM every Saturday morning to run in below (or close to) freezing temps for 4 months. 

To date, we have raised $9,121.00 to help find a cure for Leukemia and to help improve the lives of patients and their families. That is amazing. Thank YOU. 

I felt as though I should share my story of Marathon day.

On the morning of Monday, April 15, 2013, I woke up prepared for a grueling and emotional 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston. Little did I know just how emotional it would be. I had an amazing first half marathon. It was a beautiful day. Erin and I ran together and we made many stops along the way. The most amazing part of all was seeing Mark, the Kotoskys, some of my family, and great friends from work at the Wellesley Community Center at mile 15. Seeing Mark was an incredible feeling. He gave me the motivation for every long run. When you run a marathon, people tell you how they can't imagine, and how it must be so hard. Running a marathon is a walk in the park compared to what Mark has been through. I cannot say enough how much I admire the strength in this little boy and his family. I will never forget how it felt seeing everyone at Mile 15. It was incredible, and I still cry happy tears when I think about it.

Erin and I were making great time; we were on pace to finish in 4 hrs 28 mins. At mile 18.5 I began getting a "charlie horse" in my right quad. It was a terrible pain and I had to walk for a little bit. We continued on the race mostly running but walking a bit when the pain would strike up. I was upset that this snuck up on me in the middle of an amazing run. I told Erin to go ahead because I didn't want to slow her down. She refused and just kept telling me that we were going to stay together. Thank God she did.

I saw Adam, my dad and brother at Mile 17.5, and then they were going to the finish line. My mom was also going to be waiting for me at the finish.

We got an idea that something was going on around mile 24. Spectators were on their phones, and things just seemed strange, but we had no idea as to what actually happened. Right as we were about to turn the infamous "right on Hereford", the spectators were 
suddenly in the course, and there was a big crowd. People were saying "don't go to the finish", "the race is over", "just do NOT go down to the finish". Not being allowed to go forward, Erin and I started walking backward. Thanks to some amazingly kind people, I was able to get in touch with Adam and my family and learn that they were safe. After walking a mile or so, an incredibly nice family took us into their home in Brookline. A couple hours later we met up with my mentor, Ed and his family, who gave us a ride back to Westborough, since Adam couldn't get to us.

It was a long and terrifying few hours, but I am incredibly lucky that all of my friends and family are safe.

Honestly, I am angry. I am angry that someone could be so mean, and want to cause harm to good people doing great things. I am angry that such a happy and wonderful event was turned into a tragedy. I am angry that someone has taken 4 innocent lives and turned so many other innocent lives upside down.

However, I am so thankful for an amazing experience and the Boston Marathon is going to come back bigger and better. I will finish. If not next year, then the next.

Again, thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all of your support. People truly are amazing. I RUN FOR MARK. <3


So grateful to have a good friend (and incredible runner), Neil, join me in running for Mark in the 2013 Boston Marathon to fundraise for LLS!

Mark is a 14 year old boy from Westborough, MA, and is a student at Gibbons Middle School. My name is Ashley, and I am a special education teacher at Mill Pond School. I met Mark 4 years ago, and immediately fell in love with him. Read Mark's story and you will fall in love with him too. Then, go to our fundraising website to support a wonderful cause and an incredible boy.

Mark was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, and is currently receiving treatment at UMass. On April 15, 2013, I will run the Boston Marathon with Team in Training in honor of the most amazing little guy in the world. 

Mark also
has autism. He is the most sweet and loving guy. Mark loves the Wiggles, Sesame Street, Dora, Papa Gino's Pizza, and his wonderful family. He loves watching his DVDs and using his iPad. Mark touches the heart of everyone he meets.

Our fundraising goal is $8,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We hope you will consider making a donation in support of a great cause and a truly inspirational boy.

Check "Mark's Fight" page for updates on Marks progress.

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