The Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2022, Jenna Burke got an early morning wake-up call from her mom with devastating news. Her father was being rushed by ambulance from the family home in Randolph, MA to Boston Medical Center with life-threatening injuries.
Burke threw a toothbrush in a bag, and drove from her home in Buffalo, NY to be by her family’s side.
“From the moment I arrived, the staff were so helpful – from the security guards to the nurses and doctors,” says Burke. “The hospital was so busy, but they still took the time to stop and help me find my mom.”
Burke’s father spent two weeks at BMC; a stressful time, but she found comfort in focusing on the future. “On one of my many trips down to the coffee shop, I saw this big mural in the hallway about Team BMC and the Boston Marathon,” says Burke. “I filed it away, thinking, ‘maybe if this all works out, I’ll get back into marathon running and join BMC’s team.’ I needed something positive to look forward to.”
Burke’s father underwent two extensive surgeries. During that time, the compassion Burke noticed upon her arrival continued. “My father has been deaf since birth, and the staff were so patient and made sure to offer interpreters or work with us to translate everything to ASL,” says Burke. “The whole team went out of their way to make sure there were no communication gaps and that my dad’s needs were met.”
“On one of my many trips down to the coffee shop, I saw this big mural in the hallway about Team BMC and the Boston Marathon. I filed it away, thinking, ‘maybe if this all works out, I’ll get back into marathon running and join BMC’s team.’”
—Jenna Burke, 2022 and 2023 Team BMC Boston Marathoner
Burke’s father went on to make a full recovery. Inspired by the lifesaving care he received and the compassion shown to her family, Burke joined Team BMC. “From spending time at the hospital with my dad, I saw people coming to BMC for help and to get care,” says Burke. “Beyond what they did for our family, I’m drawn to the mission and the amazing services they offer to the whole community.”
This April, Burke will be among the 81 Team BMC athletes taking on the 127th Boston Marathon, while raising funds for BMC health equity programs that rely on philanthropy – programs that offer education and employment opportunities, food, connections to housing, and many other services needed for lasting good health.
As Burke ticks off the miles from Hopkinton to Boylston Street, she’ll have an important driving force in her mind: second chances. “I believe that my dad being brought to BMC is what saved his life,” she says.