Congratulations and Thank You
to our 2021 BAA Boston Marathon Official Charity Team Members for Raising
for Newton's Underserved
Children and Teens
Meet Our 2021 Heros
Andy lives in Quincy and works in Newton. Andy was a runner for us in 2020 but everything changed on March 12, 2020. Andy has run the Boston Marathon at least three times in the last 10 years. We’re lucky to have him back. Andy has always supported our kids. He sees the direct connection his donations have on our kids and wants to help provide opportunities from which they may grow. And his employer provides matching gift funds too.
Elizabeth “Biz” Bracher
Biz is a Newton (Waban) resident. She learned about Team BGC Newton by seeing a lawn sign while running on Commonwealth Ave. She ran Boston about 15 years ago as well as other marathons and triathlons-local and national- in the past. She refers to herself as a “faithful runner” after her college days. For years when she and her family lived in Boston and later Newton, you could find her cheering on Marathoners to help get them up Heartbreak Hill. The year of the bombings she went up and down part of the route picking up runners in Newton, comforting them, and helping them to connect with their loved ones.
Having grown up on the south shore of Massachusetts, Arlington Virginia is now her home. She has been a dedicated marathoner and triathlete. From the early 2010s she has always fundraised for communities-in-need during her marathon and triathlons. Her father is an officer of the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club in Newton. She is engaged with the DC Boys & Girls Club and has firsthand experience with what we do here. Helping children grow-especially during these times-is a mission for her.
Katie and her family live in Falmouth, Massachusetts. From the mid-2000s she has run in all sorts of marathons in Boston, Maine, Philadelphia, San Antonio, and more. Katie has a passion for athletics-it runs in the family. Her sister-in-law Lisa Vazquez (who ran for us in 2019) is also a long time athlete who lives in Newton. Katie has seen first-hand how much of a positive influence the Club can have on children such as on her niece and nephew Kate and Tyler Vazquez.
Julie and her family live in Somerset Massachusetts-not far from Cape Cod. She has run multiple ½ marathons and triathlons-approximately 11. This will be her first time running a full marathon. She and her family are very close. As aunt to Kate and Tyler referenced above and sister-in-law to their father runner Steve Vazquez (who ran for us in 2020), she has seen the important role the Club and staff have played in the life of a child. And just as are runner Steve and his wife board member Lisa Vazquez, along with Katie Haney, they all are among our best advocates for our work here in Newton.
Joining us from Colorado, Frank was a member of the 2020 team along with Andy Boyle, Patrick Knight and Steve Vazquez. Frank has been part of a local running club for many years. While he has run Chicago, Berlin, London, and New York, he knows the Boys & Girls Clubs well. He is a former “Club kid” who has decided to run for our kids here in Newton. For Frank, running Boston is as important to him as is the physical and mental preparation to get there. For Frank the journey to the Boston Marathon is as important as completing it. He has raised funds in those major cities for American Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans-men and women such as himself. We’re delighted Frank is on the team again.
Patrick lives in Newton and is a neighbor to teammate Michael Meyer. In 2011 Patrick was looking for a way to make a statement about how much he cares about his community. He wanted to “give back.” In 2012 he became a Boston Marathon charity runner for the Boys & Girls Club of Newton. And again in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and will run 2021. Having generated well more than $100,000 for the Club and Newton kids, he is a great advocate for and passionate about our work. Patrick is also an officer on the Board of Directors. You will often see Patrick running on Commonwealth Ave in the early hours…where he coincidentally met fellow runner and team member Biz.
Although growing up in Burlington Massachusetts, Reno Nevada is now home to Meghan. She has never run a full marathon though she has completed nine half marathons. And she has never fundraised before the way she needs and wants to now. Simply put she is determined. You see she’s gotten through some challenging times in life that few could possibly endure. She writes that she has always “dreamed about running the Boston Marathon” but never thought she would have the chance. She is also running with her best friend teammate Anne Stevens. She is aware of some of the challenges our kids and their families have. And she wants to give back. As a great student of human behavior once said, “You can take the girl out of greater Boston, but you can’t take the Boston Marathon out of the girl.” We are fortunate to have her.
Michael has run several 5K races and the Boston Marathon in 2005. Michael is a neighbor to team member. For 15 years, Michael watched and cheered-on the runners at the foot of his street on Commonwealth Avenue. In 2005 he ran the Baystate Marathon and found the he was qualified to run the Boston Marathon. He trained and trained and tried to run it in 2007. He writes that he “didn’t know just how challenging running the marathon would be.” Since then he has tried to qualify again failing multiple attempts to do so. He sees this as an opportunity to run the Marathon and to give it another try while he supports his local Boys & Girls Club at the same time. Two of his five children participated in and found value from several Club programs and activities. This is his year.
Living in Boston, Corey tried to run the 2020 Boston Marathon for the first time. That did not happen. After all he ran the Wineglass Marathon in upstate New York in 2015, NYC in 2017, and Chicago in 2018-all while raising funds for several non-profit organizations. This year he will be able to run the Marathon. He is keenly aware that he, when and where he can, wants to better his community. He has his chance to do just that by supporting the BGC of Newton.
Matt lives in Cambridge, just across the river from Newton and Boston. He describes himself as a “beginner” when it comes to marathon running. That said, he ran a full marathon in 2017 and at least several 5Ks. “I had an awesome childhood in Massachusetts with so much support from my family, friends, and community,” he writes. He writes that “during the height of the pandemic I thought a lot about kids and what they must be going through.” It was time for him to put on his running shoes and run for kids who are growing up in less fortunate situations than he. For him, it’s about the kids.
Pam (on left side of photo) lives in Swansea Massachusetts, 6-7 miles from where teammate Julie and her family live. Pam’s a runner. From 2015 Pam has run in approximately a dozen 5K and 10K runs as well as 12 half marathons too. Her husband and teammate Bob “got me hooked on running.” “Being able to run the full Boston Marathon is the fulfillment of a longtime dream,” she writes. She and Bob are longtime supporters of their local Boys & Girls Club. She has seen up close and personal the lives that can be changed at a Boys & Girls Club, and writes “there would be no better way to show support for another club than to run Boston.”
In 2014 Bob (on right side of photo) was committed to change his lifestyle. He tried running and liked it. He really liked it. He even got Pam running and off together they went. Now it’s a family affair. Bob ran along with Pam running in approximately a dozen 5K and 10K runs as well as 12 half marathons too. From Kiawah Island in North Carolina to Nashville; from Newport to Providence; and from the Smuttynose Half Marathon in Hampton Beach New Hampshire and more, Bob is on his way to many more runs in US cities (and maybe beyond). Bob is on the Board of Directors of the Boys & Girls Club in Fall River. He makes things happen there for kids and isn’t afraid to get in the trenches when necessary. For him too, it’s about the kids.
From New York City, Sarah has run four New York City marathons. Berlin Marathon? Did that. Chicago Marathon? Did that one too. She tried to run London and Tokyo in 2020, but those did not happen. She is well on her way to achieving the Abbott World Marathon Series; six marathons on three continents. Sara has raised funds in New York for “Every Mother Counts” assuring that women have safe pregnancies and birth, and for “Team Andi” to fund the Neo-Intensive Care Unit at New York Mount Sinai Hospitals. For this former Brookline Massachusetts resident, much like Meghan formerly from Burlington Massachetts, she grew up watching the Marathon. Not anymore. She returns to Boston to fulfill “a lifelong dream.” She is aware of committed to the importance of supporting our kids, she writes, “particularly during this time of transition.”
A resident of Winchester Massachusetts, Anne grew up around Boston and even attended a Boston based University. She’s seen this run from afar; now she becomes a part of it. Anne writes, “After seeing how my neighbors and community pulled together this past year to give our kids a chance to survive emotionally through this pandemic, I truly believe that it takes a village, like the Boys & Girls Club of Newton to do the job.” She continued, “I am proud and honored to support their work.” As Anne reflects on her life, she points to the arts and sports as having the biggest effect on her development. Now, she says, I have an opportunity to contribute to that village right here in Newton. Anne is overjoyed to be running with her dear friend from Reno, teammate Meghan. They make a powerful, committed, and passionate “min team” within our overall team. In Reno, I wouldn’t bet against them.
Steve is the fourth member of the 2020 team to “re-up.” Steve and his wife Lisa, an officer of the Club’s Board of Directors, are parents of twin 6th graders who have been Club members for several years beginning just after the Vazquez family moved to Newton from California. Steve and Lisa’s kids, Kate and Tyler, love being at the Club. Steve writes, “The John M. Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton has played an instrumental role in the development of my son and daughter…I want to help them to continue to be an amazing resource for the community.” About the staff Steve writes, “The staff is so caring and professional,” he continues “I’m excited about the opportunity to give back and to raise awareness of the great things the Club offers to our community.” Lisa, Steve’s wife and Board Member, says that “… ....it takes a village to raise our kids and the Club staff play a big part with us.” Lisa ran the 2019 Boston Marathon as a charity runner for the Club. Lisa Vazquez is currently an officer of the Board of Directors . Steve is the brother-in-law to teammates Katie Haney and Julie Henry.
MyShawnawndria “MyMY” Ward
MyMy lives in Boston but grew up in Southern California. There while in high school she volunteered at her local Boys & Girls Club. She “helped young students with their homework, played games with them, and helped foster a great sense of community.” She rates herself as a “beginner” when it comes to running, yet she has run more than seven 5Ks, 10Ks, half, and full marathons from Baltimore to Madrid and beyond. While studying abroad during college, she thought it might be “fun” to run a marathon in Spain. She trained for race day. What she did not expect was just how much adrenaline and excitement she experienced at the starting line. She loved hearing kids and adults cheering her on along the way. So what was to be a one-off novelty became a mission, a passion. “I was going to run more” she wrote “and I will someday run Boston.” MyMy your day is nearly here.