Each month, Look Who’s Talking features voices from across BWH answering the same question. This month, BWHers participating in the Boston Marathon answer: Why do you run? If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, please submit a comment at the bottom of the page.


“I was less than a half-mile from completing the Boston Marathon in 2013 when a police officer stopped me and hundreds of other runners to inform us of the tragedy that had just occurred at the finish line. Prior to the bombing, I had been ready to be one and done – cross the marathon off my bucket list and never run another one again. After everything that happened, I couldn’t not run it again. I wanted to cross the finish line for myself and all the people of Boston. So, five years later, I am preparing to participate in my eighth marathon – running on behalf of BWH’s Stepping Strong Marathon Team to raise money for The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation.”

– Liz Burke, Science Writer, BWH Development Office


“During my medical training in Cali, Colombia – one of the most violent cities in the world – I saw a staggering number of patients with traumatic injuries. One of the things that really moved me while I was completing my training was the realization of how young these patients were. Trauma is killing a lot of people, and a lot of those people are young people. We need to do something, which is why I’m running as part of the BWH Stepping Strong Team to raise money for The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation to transform trauma research and care. Stepping Strong is sending a powerful message about this, and I am so excited to support them in the marathon.”

– Juan Herrera-Escobar, MD, Center for Surgery and Public Health


“Since moving to Boston in June, I have seen the words ‘Boston Strong’ plastered across just about everything – T-shirts, store windows, benches. Boston’s sense of pride and resiliency is fierce, and becoming a member of this community has made my research on the health care response to intimate partner violence all the more meaningful. Training for a marathon in a Northeast winter may be hard, but establishing safety and independence from an abusive partner is much harder. By running in support of Casa Myrna, a Boston nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic violence, I give visibility not only to the ‘Boston Strong’ survivors who have participated in my study or received care at the Brigham, but also to those who have not yet been able to do so. I run to let all survivors know we are here to support them.”

– Aitana Zermeno, Research Assistant, Connors Center for Women’s Health & Gender Biology


“I am running with the BWH Stepping Strong Team this year to raise funds for educational exchanges with surgery residents and faculty from Rwanda, with whom I have the privilege to work. Every day, with relatively few resources, they are innovating in their setting to give Rwandan patients the chance to survive and overcome devastating traumas. They inspire me. These funds will allow their best and brightest to spend time with us here at BWH to be inspired by how we work, care and innovate. I see this as a chance for BWH and Rwandan surgeons to exchange ideas so that we can all step stronger.”

– Robert Riviello, MD, MPH, Associate Surgeon, Division of Trauma, Burns, and Surgical Critical Care


“I have grown to appreciate everything that is great about the Boston Marathon. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed hearing stories about how my grandfather worked as a medical volunteer at the marathon, and I admire my father for his current work with the Boston Athletic Association. The Boston Marathon has always had a special place in my heart. It has been wonderful to train with the BWH Stepping Strong Marathon Team and support them in raising money for The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Care, which has been able to take a tragic situation and produce something so meaningful. I’m proud to be a part of that.”

– James O’Leary, Research Coordinator, Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

KimCardillo“As a trauma nurse and former orthopaedic nurse, I see firsthand how the funds we raise for Stepping Strong support doctors and researchers who are developing better ways to help and heal our patients. As I go up Heartbreak Hill on Marathon Monday, I will be running for my patients, some of whom can’t run themselves as a result of their injuries. I know the pain that my patients experience and overcome is a lot worse than mine could ever be that day.”

– Kimberly Cardillo, RN, Tower 8AB, Surgical, Burn and Trauma Intermediate Care Unit