When Lynda Miller’s son Liam was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2006 and needed brain surgery, her family was devastated. Anticipating they would need easy access to the hospital for months to come, she reserved a room for her family at the hospital’s Ronald McDonald House. What started out as just a place to shower slowly turned into a place of comfort and support for the Millers.
A bit of relief during trying times
When Liam passed away in 2008, Miller wasn’t quite sure how to resume her life, or how to begin taking care of herself again. But then, after the encouragement of her coworker, she agreed to participate in a 5K road race benefiting a local charity focused on brain tumors. Eight years later, running has become a therapeutic and rewarding part of Miller’s life.
This year, Miller will be running her third Bank of America Chicago Marathon, her second with team Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC). When Miller initially signed up for the Marathon through the lottery two years ago, she didn’t qualify, but was encouraged by her daughter to run on behalf of RMHC, an official charity partner of the race.
“The Bank of America Chicago Marathon provides not only camaraderie between runners, but also an amazing atmosphere unlike any race I have ever participated in,” said Miller. “On a personal level, this Marathon has provided me the opportunity to give back to Ronald McDonald House Charities and has really allowed me to make a connection with the organization again. The race last year acted as a stepping stone for me to start supporting RMHC year-round.”
Support from far and wide
The RMHC team is expected to have approximately 800 runners, with some coming from as far as Australia and Indonesia, at the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Making up almost 2 percent of the entire runner population at the race, the RMHC team is on target to raise $1.2 million or more this year.
“The team itself is a sizable group and its dynamic is pretty amazing,” said Katie Marchetti, who organizes team RMHC for the Marathon. “The support that the entire team gives one another and the amount of alumni that offer their guidance is truly one of the reasons our runners come back year after year. Lynda is proof of this.”
Both Miller and Marchetti look forward to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon year after year for its amazing atmosphere, the support system it provides and most importantly, the opportunity to give back to an organization that supports those in need not only on race day, but each day of the year.