CRSS Race for Hope Profile: Mary Kenney, Runner

Name: Mary Kenney
Age: 41
Hometown: Albany, NY
CRSS Race for Hope participant since: 2010

1) What is your connection to the Capital Region?  I moved to Albany from Connecticut in September 2004 when I heard there weren’t enough lawyers in Albany.

2) Who or what is the inspiration behind your participation?  On February 20, 2006, I woke up in the morning to get ready for work and I was unable to walk. I stepped out of bed and fell to the floor. I had no strength in my legs and the pain literally took my breath away. After an MRI, I was sent to see Dr. Edward Scheid at Capital Region Special Surgery (CRSS). He explained to me that a piece of lumbar disc had broken off and was resting against my sciatic nerve. While the exact cause was unknown, I believe it was the result of a combination of things – a long history of lower back problems, I was training at the time to run a marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and I had fallen on a wet floor about a month earlier.

When Dr. Scheid told me it required surgery, I instantly began to cry like a child, and I remember feeling really embarrassed for doing so. I’ve been terrified of doctors and needles since I was a young child, and before then I never had to go to a hospital for anything. And there was this doctor who looked young enough to have graduated medical school five minutes ago telling me I had to have surgery! Dr. Scheid explained in his calm and confident demeanor that he had performed thousands of similar surgeries and that everything would be fine. He was right. The surgery went fine, and I was walking the hospital halls the next day. While there will be no marathons in my future, my back is better today than it was twenty years ago. I thank Dr. Scheid for this, so I am more than happy to support any endeavor of CRSS as they give back to the community and support persons living with brain, head, and neck cancer.

3) What song gets you moving on race day?  It’s really tough for me to pick just one! There’s no Top 40 for this girl, so it will probably something by Rage Against the Machine, Primus, Weezer, or the Beastie Boys.

4) Any advice for a new CRSS Race for Hope participant?  Be prepared to run with a really fantastic group of people, and don’t let that hill at the beginning worry you – it makes for a nice downhill finish!

5) You turn the last corner and the finish line is in view, the best reward you could find waiting for you is because there was a point in time that I was terrified I may not walk or run again, any time I run a 5K I’m super thankful to just be a part of it. Over the years my time has slowly improved. This year the best reward would be a finish time under 30:00!

In case you didn’t know, Mary has a wonderful blog on the TU: Pay It Forward, a blog about volunteerism, charity, philanthropy, and random acts of kindness performed by people and organizations in and around the Capital Region.  Always a great read!


About CRSS Race for Hope

Since 2009, the Capital Region Special Surgery Race for Hope events have raised over $200,000, of which all monies have been dedicated to fundraising, since overhead costs are underwritten by Capital Region Special Surgery. This year's 5K will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The major goal of the Capital Region Special Surgery – Race for Hope Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, is to make grants to not-for-profit organizations/programs serving uninsured and underinsured patients who are experiencing a financial hardship related to a brain, head, or neck cancer diagnosis in the Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington counties). Thus far, these proceeds have been allocated to the following local 501c3 organizations: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc. C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Ellis Hospital Foundation, Inc., Saratoga Hospital—Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center, and patient services at St. Peter’s Cancer Care Center.
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