I’m not a runner. I’ve never run for anything.

A few miles before work? No, thanks.

A holiday 5K? I’ll pass.

Yet on April 16 I’m running the Boston Marathon, the most prestigious, celebrated, challenging race I could find.

And I’m doing it for my dad.

Five years ago, my dad arrived at Boston Medical Center downtrodden and deflated. Merely weeks earlier, a renowned doctor at a nearby hospital solemnly suggested he go home, get comfortable, and get his affairs in order.

My dad’s heart was failing, and nobody seemed to know why. Specialist after specialist, referral after referral, nothing was conclusive.

Just when all seemed lost, cue Dr. Seldin and the superstars at Boston Medical Center.

That first day at BMC’s Amyloidosis Center, the hero in the lab coat said the elusive five words we’d been waiting to hear: You’re going to beat this.

The road forward was arduous. Test, procedure, pain, rest. Over and over, day after day.

Strange things happen when your dad gets sick. Roles reverse, priorities shift. Goals become smaller, yet more important than ever.

My dad’s goal was to dance with my sister at her wedding. Three weeks after a debilitating stem cell transplant, there wasn’t a dry eye at the reception as they swayed gingerly back and forth. Allegedly even the bartender was caught reaching for a handkerchief.

Ricky Kahn wedding
Ricky and his dad at his sister’s wedding (Courtesy Ricky Kahn)

That was Boston Marathon eve, 2013. The following day, we watched in horror as tragedy struck the local institution we had grown to unofficially associate with the start of Boston spring.

Five years later, as our city recovered and grew stronger, so did my dad. Today, he’s in remission, focusing on his new and most important role yet: grandfather.

Oh, and one more role: fundraiser. Through the incredible generosity of our community, we’ve raised more than $10,000 for Boston Medical Center’s Marathon Team.

So that’s it. That’s why I’m running.

Will it be hard? Yup.

Am I scared? You bet.

But when I’m staring down Heartbreak Hill—having officially run further than I ever have before—there will be five little words in my head pushing me through: You’re going to beat this.

Learn more at my fundraising page.

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