BOSTON, Mass. (WPRI) – More than 30,000 people signed up to take part in the 121st Boston Marathon, and that includes a team from the R.I. State Police.
Troopers have participated in the prestigious 26.2-mile race for the past 15 years and their hard work has paid off – they’ve raised tens of thousands of dollars for charity.
This year, seven state police troopers traded their boots for sneakers to raise money for Cops for Kids with Cancer, an organization that provides financial assistance to families who have a child battling cancer.
Corporal John Gadrow has helped raise money for some of those families for several years. In order to train for the marathon this year, he ran an average of 40 miles a week for 16 weeks.
Gadrow said it requires mental training as well. He makes it to the finish line by thinking about his father, members of law enforcement who were killed in the line of duty, and the kids with cancer who are fighting for their lives.
“I think about the charity that we’re running for, all the families and the children that are suffering with cancer,” Gadrow said. “I think about them and the help that we’re trying to give them. Running the marathon is nothing compared to what they’re doing.”
Families typically receive about $5,000 each from the charity. The state police has raised more than $40,000 for them over the past three years.
Detective Amanda Brezniak ran her first marathon on Monday. She endured a number of injuries and setbacks and time away from her 6-year-old daughter while training, but Brezniak says running for the kids makes it all worth it.
“We work specifically with families in Rhode Island, but I’ve seen multiple families and friends that go through this,” Brezniak said. “You know their children have cancer and it affects everyone, not just the child but the family.”
Detective Lt. John Grassel said by running, he feels in some small way that he’s helping families suffering from the unimaginable.
“I’m a father of two kids who are healthy and the thought that some child could have cancer is a motivating factor. You want to help someone else,” Grassel said. “I think [about] these little kids that are going through this and if they’re able to battle cancer I can do 26 miles.”