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Two Emmanuel College students will be among the waves of runners at the starting line in Hopkinton on April 16th, running alongside their fathers to support organizations that came into their lives in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Elizabeth Fortier '21 is running in support of the One World Strong Foundation, a growing international community of terror attack survivors. Harrison Corder '19 is raising funds for MGH's Emergency Response Team, which provides critical emergency care on the ground during disasters.
Fortier, who is in her first year at Emmanuel, will be running alongside her father, Dave Fortier, for an organization whose inception, though formed after devastation, has an immensely positive impact on the lives of those affected by acts of terror.
In 2013, Elizabeth's father was injured while crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. In the days that followed, members of the Semper Fi Fund, an organization that supports wounded marines and their families, came to visit those injured in their hospital rooms. These Semper Fi Fund members had similar injuries from their service and were able to connect with victims of the marathon bombing on a level that fell outside of the expertise of doctors and therapists.
"These friendships changed the lives of many and are still crucial parts of their constant healing process," Elizabeth said. "From this, my father and other survivors of the marathon bombing came up with the idea to take this power of support all across the world."
Along with these other survivors, Elizabeth's father formed the One World Strong Foundation, which aims to connect survivors of international terrorist attacks and bring them together to heal and move forward.
"They have visited many places, including, Orlando and the survivors of the Pulse Night Club shooting, Manchester, London, Paris, New York City, Newtown and Las Vegas," Elizabeth explained. "And just recently, a mother who lost a child in the shootings in Parkland, Florida, reached out and joined them for their Inaugural Benefit."
One World Strong is constantly growing as they reach out to support survivors. Having such a positive and healing effect on those ravaged by tragedy has even inspired survivors to want to do the same for others.
"Although the reason that One World Strong exists is terrible, the work they do is incredibly impactful and supportive in the healing process for many," said Elizabeth. She is running to raise money and help support One World Strong and all her father has done.
As the Newburyport native prepares to run her first marathon alongside her father-his sixth time running the Boston Marathon-Elizabeth said she could not be more excited.
"The training process has been long and tiring, but running the Boston Marathon has been a dream of mine for the past five years, and I am so excited and honored to be running it for a cause so close to my heart."
To learn more about Elizabeth's marathon journey and the One World Strong Foundation, or, if you would like to donate to help Elizabeth meet her fundraising goal, click here!
Harrison Corder competed in his first marathon alongside his father, Richard, in Chicago when he was just 17. Now, four years later, they are preparing to run the 26.2 miles in their home state of Massachusetts.
"I'm extremely excited to run this marathon, even more so than when we ran Chicago," Harrison said. "Being able to be here with my whole family and to have all of our friends coming to support us along the race is going to be great.
While training, Harrison has been going home to Ipswich on weekends to train with his dad, often withstanding wild winter conditions, especially in recent months. Still, neither of the Corders have let that hold them back.
"I am getting more and more excited as this day approaches," Harrison said. "It's mostly out of my hands now; the training is practically over, and I plan on enjoying every moment of race weekend in Boston."
Inspired by the efforts of first responders and medical personnel after the Boston Marathon bombing, especially at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), where Richard previously worked, the Corders are running to raise money for MGH's Emergency Response Team. The Team, who are "ready when seconds count" during both man-made and natural disasters, requires outside funding to acquire critical resources and complete their necessary training.
"That day will be remembered for many years to come," Harrison said. "And not only will we remember those who lost their lives during those tragic days, but we will also remember the first responders who ran toward the chaos."
Running in support of heroic first responders, and to raise money for training emergency personnel of the future, has been an honor for Harrison.
"The Boston Marathon has always been a dream of mine, this is the Super Bowl of marathons; I feel so blessed to have this opportunity."