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Marathon duo runs Miles for Miracles

Set $5,000 fundraising goal

Marathoner Brian Hrybyk with Children’s Hospital patient David St. Denis at mile 13 of the Boston Marathon this year. Where the patient partners of the Miles for Miracles team cheer on the runners. (click for larger version)
December 05, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Completing the 26-mile Boston Marathon is difficult, but raising $5,000 for Children's Hospital Boston is perhaps even more challenging. One thing is for sure – it requires a driven individual to achieve either goal

Sturbridge natives Amber Hillman and Brian Hrybyk will attempt to accomplish both feats this spring. The duo has participated in the Boston Marathon for the last two years as part of the Miles for Miracles team, completing the arduous race both times and raising thousands of dollars to assist Children's Hospital Boston.

"We were assigned patient partners a few years ago, and our partner is a six-year-old Sturbridge boy named David St. Denis," Hrybyk said. "Watching his struggles has inspired us to keep running this race and raising money for Children's Hospital Boston."

Like thousands of brave children who spend more time at hospitals than their homes, David has been forced to deal with one struggle after another in his young life. He suffers from a chromosomal disorder called DiGeorge Syndrome that often causes congenital heart disease, and he has already undergone several lifesaving open heart surgeries. Thanks to the work of doctors at Children's Hospital Boston and the support provided by David's family and the community, his condition has improved since his last surgery in August 2009. Every three to six months, doctors evaluate him to ensure that additional surgeries are not necessary.

"I grew up with good health, so to see what kids like David have to go through really puts things into perspective," added Hrybyk, who enjoys spending time with children. In addition to partnering with Children's Hospital Boston, he also serves as an assistant soccer coach at Tantasqua Regional High School.

Hillman and Hrybyk are no strangers to athletic activities that require running. Hillman was a field hockey player at Tantasqua for four years, and although Hrybyk didn't run track races until he was an adult, his background in soccer prepared him for the rigors of marathons. While visiting Disney World in 2006, he decided to run his first marathon and was impressed by other participants who were running for charities. He then contacted the Miles for Miracles team, which includes about 100 runners nationwide, and soon thereafter he was participating in races to support Children's Hospital Boston.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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