For Kerin Brown, Boston Medical Center has been the glue holding her family together.
It all started with a phone call in the middle of the night. Kerin’s sister was calling to say their 19-year-old brother was in a serious car accident and suffered life-threatening injuries. “She said, ‘come home,'” Kerin recalls. She and her family—including two young children under the age of three and one more on the way—immediately rushed from their home in Vermont to BMC. There, she united with her close-knit relatives while her brother underwent major brain surgery. “It was moment by moment,” Kerin says of the uncertain fragility of her brother’s state. A second surgery followed, totaling two major brain surgeries within 12 hours. Her brother was in a coma, and he had a long road ahead of him. “We basically moved into BMC,” she says. “The staff was amazing and made us feel welcome the entire time we were there. We had continuous updates. It wasn’t easy, but they helped us get through it.” After nearly two months, Kerin’s brother woke up from his coma and went on to make a full recovery.
As Kerin and her family settled back into their normal lives, she reconnected with a favorite pastime: running. One of the reasons she returned to running, she admits, was to have some time to herself. “After having three kids in three years, you physically needed to leave the house if you wanted to be alone!” she says with a laugh. In addition to temporary respite, running is Kerin’s “mental and physical therapy.” “I solve all of the world’s problems when I go out for a run,” she adds.
Thirteen years after her brother’s accident, Kerin found herself rushing back to BMC. This time, it was for her sister, who had gone into early labor. Her sister had been receiving prenatal care at BMC for her high-risk pregnancy, which ensured she and her baby were healthy the entire time. While the early labor was unexpected, Kerin’s sister safely delivered a beautiful baby girl. Once again, the family was relieved and thankful for BMC’s care. In fact, it was so meaningful Kerin felt compelled to show her appreciation. “I left the hospital feeling hopeless in a way,” she explains. “I wanted to give back, but didn’t know how.”
It was frigid cold outside when Kerin left the hospital, so she sought an exit allowing her to be indoors for the longest time possible. Kerin stumbled upon Team BMC’s John Hancock mural, which is a 40-foot-long installation along a corridor featuring photos and quotes from the team’s past Boston Marathon runners. “I turned the corner and there was the mural,” she recalls. “I thought, ‘oh, of course! I have to do this.'” Within minutes of getting home, she submitted her application to run the 2019 Boston Marathon with Team BMC.
As the result of a serendipitous walk down a hallway, Kerin’s passion for running converged with her desire to give back to the hospital that means so much to her family. “I am running with Team BMC as a way to thank BMC for how good it has been to us,” she concludes. “The timing wasn’t perfect to fit marathon training into my life, but my brother didn’t ask to be in a car accident at 19 and my sister didn’t ask to have her baby 12 weeks early. It’s all been unexpected and that’s why this is the right time.”