When math teacher Shira Brown ran in her first organized race, the inaugural Run to Home Base presented by New Balance in 2010, she had no idea where the miles would take her. As an avid Boston Red Sox fan, Brown was initially drawn to participate in the Run to Home Base due to the access it would afford her to Fenway Park, but the impact of the charity race benefitting Home Base, a Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program hit her when the event’s Veteran speaker shared his story.
“I sat in the stands at Fenway and listened him speak to a crowd of thousands of people about some of the most intimate moments of his life – his personal story and the impact Home Base had on this life. It was at that point when I realized my true reason in being there: I didn’t serve in the military, but I could be of service to those that did,” Brown said.
Since 2010, Brown has participated in every Run to Home Base benefitting Home Base’s mission to heal the invisible wounds for Veterans, Service Members and their Families. This April, Brown will take her dedication to Home Base to new distances as she prepares to run the 123rd Boston Marathon as part of the Mass General’s Marathon program on Team Home Base. “In nine years of participating in the Run to Home Base, I have had the opportunity to see the amazing work done by Home Base and to watch the program grow,” said Brown.
Nearly 3 million men and women have served in the military since 9/11. An estimated one in three will return home with an invisible wound such as post-traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury. Additionally, others experience depression, anxiety or family relationship challenges. Regardless of ability to pay or geographical location, Home Base provides clinical care, support and wellness programs to those impacted by the invisible wounds – at no cost.
“The invisible wounds of war are complex injuries that require innovative solutions, and that’s what we are trying to do at Home Base and Mass General Hospital”, said Brigadier General (ret.) Jack Hammond, Executive Director of Home Base. “We are grateful to have a team of dedicated Boston Marathon runners this year who are committed to our mission and dedicated to giving back to those who have served our country. Funds raised this year will help us extend our impact and provide individualized, innovative, world-class care on a local and national level.”
Throughout her running career, Brown has completed over 40 other races, including one marathon, 16 half-marathons, 4 sprint triathlons and a variety of 10Ks and 5Ks. But when Home Base received Boston Marathon bibs for the first time ever as part of Mass General’s 2019 Boston Marathon Official Charity Program, Brown was quick to apply to support Home Base.
“I came to a decision that the only way I would ever run another marathon is if it was Boston – and if it was for Home Base,” Brown explained. “As I prepare for my first Boston Marathon run in support of Home Base, I think of the sacrifices made by our service members and their families, and how thankful I am for programs like Home Base to provide support and treatment to those who have given so much of themselves in service to our country. I am honored to think that I may be able to play a tiny role in the good work done for our Veterans through Home Base.”
Though Brown has set a personal fundraising goal of $10,000, she ultimately hopes to help spread the word about the program’s mission to heal the invisible wounds. To date, Brown has raised more than $6,000 in support of Home Base. To support Brown’s Boston Marathon fundraising efforts, click here.
To learn more about Mass General Hospital’s Home Base Marathon Team, please visit https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/home-base-boston-2019.