How does the decision to run one Boston Marathon become 10 consecutive marathons and more than $115,000 raised for BMC? For former Boston Medical Center employee Ashley Zolenski, it all boiled down to the hospital’s mission.
As a former employee on the BMC Development team, Ashley wanted to do more for the Boston community outside of her 9-5 job. “It resonated with me personally,” Ashley says. “My values are: how can I help others, make this world better, acknowledge the privilege that I have with my education and the opportunities I’ve been given knowing that’s not something everyone has. Being able to support all communities but specifically vulnerable communities, that really drew me to thinking about fundraising beyond my full-time job.”
One of Ashley’s favorite parts about running the Boston Marathon with Team BMC were the personal connections that she made with patients.
“I was connected to a patient at BMC, his name was Jamie,” Ashley says. “He passed unfortunately, but he was a patient with cancer and he had helped manage some of the support groups within BMC.” Jamie was Ashley’s motivation to get early morning runs in during harsh, snowy Boston winters, no matter how much she wanted to stay in bed. She ran in honor of him every year.
“Just do it. You’re going to have an amazing time, it’s going to be a great experience.”
—Ashley Zolenski, former BMC employee and 10-time Team BMC Boston Marathoner
To those considering joining Team BMC for the Boston Marathon, Ashley says, “Just do it. You’re going to have an amazing time, it’s going to be a great experience.” What Ashley loved about being a part of Team BMC was the training support, both physical and emotional. In addition to hosting team runs and pasta dinners, Team BMC regularly sent out inspiring patient stories. These stories motivated Ashley to keep training and fundraising, because she knew that her hard work would benefit her BMC community. Ashley would pass those stories along to her friends and family to encourage them to support her in her mission, as well.
Ashley retired from her marathon journey with Team BMC in 2017. However, she might not be done just yet. “If I ever did it again, it would be with Team BMC and the Boston Marathon,” she says. “It always has the same magic and excitement every year. Maybe one day!”