Runner Profile: Kenny Ierardi
Arrhythmia Technician, CardioVascular Institute
Taking on Heartbreak Hill
As a student at Boston College, Kenny Ierardi, now an Arrhythmia Technician in the CardioVascular Institute at BIDMC, always circled Marathon Monday on his calendar.
“The campus fills with excitement starting at the crack of dawn,” he says.
Drawn by the thrill of the race, Ierardi made his way to Commonwealth Avenue, where fellow students gathered to cheer on runners through mile 21, a stretch located just after the infamous Heartbreak Hill.
After watching the Marathon from the sidelines for three years, Ierardi decided, in his senior year, that it was his time to run. He joined the Boston College Campus School Marathon Team and started training, practicing on Heartbreak Hill every day.
“Then the day came, April 15th,” says Ierardi. After all that training, getting to mile 21 felt like coming home. “Never in my life have I experienced the adrenaline rush and excitement that I did during that mile. I ran down the line of students — some friends and some complete strangers — handing out high fives and going way too fast. It was just the push I needed to make it to mile 26.2.”
Moments after Ierardi crossed the finish line with his girlfriend and received his commemorative medal, pride turned to fear when the first bomb exploded. He quickly located his mother and grandmother about a block away and the four were able to escape unharmed.
In the days and weeks that followed, as the city began the slow process of healing, Ierardi went back to school while continuing his volunteer work as a patient liaison in BIDMC’s Emergency Department.
“I saw how dedicated all the medical personnel were, assisting patients affected by the tragedy in such a profound, life-changing way. It was incredibly inspiring for me and I will always remember the dedication of those amazing men and women as long as I’m in the medical field,” he says.
Shortly after graduating from Boston College with a degree in Biology, Ierardi was hired at BIDMC as an Arrhythmia Technician. He’s currently taking classes at Lawrence Memorial/Regis College toward a nursing degree and is applying to medical school this summer. And he’s still running.
“I promised myself that I would be back between the barricades running for those affected, for those who still struggle to cope, and for my city. I want to cross that finish line on Boylston Street in 2014, throw my hands in the air, and feel pride in my accomplishment and in Boston.”
TeamBIDMC|Tread Strong: the 2014 Boston Marathon Team
Funds donated on behalf of Kenny Ierardi will benefit the Renal Division Research Team, led by Dr. Martin Pollak. Kidney disease is a major public health problem and is five times more likely to affect African Americans than other groups of people. The Kidney Disease research team is actively working to alleviate this epidemic by developing major advances in treatment.
To donate to Kenny or any BIDMC runner, visit bidmctreadstrong.org.
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Our colleagues in the Social Work Center for Violence Prevention and Recovery have worked with patients, family members and staff who have experienced trauma. They have created some resources that you may find helpful as we think about the Boston Marathon bombing anniversary.
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