Marathon Monday 2013 was a tragic and traumatic day for many in the UMass Boston community. On that day, several students from the College of Nursing and Health Sciences were stationed as volunteers at the finish line, waiting to help runners suffering from dehydration or minor injuries. When bombs exploded near the finish line, those medical volunteers found themselves in the midst of an emergency situation.
This year, 20 of the students who volunteered last year are expected to return to the Boston Marathon to help once more. Their faculty leader, Adrienne Wald, says that she is looking forward to a fresh start in 2014.
“The experience we planned for last year – let’s have it this year,” Wald said to a gathering of student volunteers.
This year, UMass Boston CNHS volunteers will wear T-shirts honoring Marathon bombing victim Krystle Campbell, a former UMass Boston student. Several UMass community members are running to raise money for the scholarship fund in her name.
The student volunteers are a mix of Nursing and Exercise and Health Sciences majors.
Senior nursing student Angela Pasqualone volunteered last year at the marathon, and will return to provide medical help to runners. She said that in the midst of a traumatic and horrifying experience at the 2013 marathon, she was inspired by the first responders who leapt into action to save lives.
“People knew what they needed to do, and they did it in the most professional way possible. I want to be one of those people.”
Pasqualone felt that returning this year was “something I needed to do.” She shares that sentiment with many of her fellow student volunteers.
This year, Wald expects an increase in the volume of runners who need help at the finish line. The 2014 Boston Marathon is expected to draw bigger crowds than usual. Additionally, a cold winter made it challenging for local runners to train properly.
“If we get a 60-degree day, you could see runners who aren’t acclimated to the weather,” said Wald, who is an expert in marathons and health. “Last year, the bottom third of runners never got to cross the finish line. Those are often the runners who have had the least training, and are at a high risk for dehydration or injury.”
As the runners make their final cool-down lap at the finish line, UMass Boston students will be waiting to lend a hand.