NBP has been part of the John Hancock Non-profit Boston Marathon program for two years now. It has proven to be a wonderful way to raise money and awareness for braille literacy. We were able to make a big statement about the capabilities of blind people by having two of our runners, one in each year, run blindfolded.
So when I received a text from one of our board members with the devastating news that two bombs exploded at the Finish Line of the Marathon, my first concern was for his safety and that of his friend – one of our runners who had just crossed the finish line 10 minutes earlier. My concern then went to our other runners still on the course, their friends and families, and the Boston community. After an hour and a half of not being able to communicate on my cell phone, I finally connected and they were thankfully all safe.
As I sat at home after speaking to all of our runners that evening and heard that many of the runners crossing the finish line at the time of the explosions were charity runners, I began to wonder if this horrible act of violence would derail our efforts. My sadness turned to anger, and I wrote the following letter to each of our Marathon runners—Erin, Gus, and Bridget:
I am glad you made it back home safely. On behalf of the staff and people we serve at NBP, I want to again express my gratitude for representing us on Monday. You had a great run, and I hope you can find the time to be proud of your accomplishments. You trained hard and overcame challenges during the training, you raised awareness about the importance of braille, and you helped change perceptions of what it means to be blind. Your efforts so far have raised thousands of dollars so that blind children and adults can read!
I hate it that your marathon experience was marred by despicable people. As a small token of my gratitude and appreciation, I have made a personal donation of $262 in support of each of your marathon fundraising efforts. I hope it is a symbol that this horrific act will not outshine all of the good you and all of the other charity runners are doing. You, the volunteers, and the emergency responders have made lives better and that should not be eclipsed by violence.
I will post about your efforts on my Facebook page and ask all of my friends to support you. Let’s show these terrorists that good and helping others will always overcome evil! Let’s keep spreading the word of all of the good you have done and what we can do together. I will help you in any way that I can.
With my sincerest appreciation and admiration,