In honor of the 126th Boston Marathon, Heart & Science spoke with several Brigham nurses about their experiences running with the Brigham’s Stepping Strong Marathon Team in support of The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation.


Erica Lunn, BSN, RN
Cardiac/Vascular Intermediate Care Unit, Shapiro 8

“The Boston Marathon was not only my first marathon, but it also was my first road race ever. I raised money for amputee research and funding for trauma care in memory of past hockey teammates Joey Birolini and Billy Hickey. Heartbreak Hill almost did me in, but with the help of a fellow Stepping Strong teammate and my goal in mind, I made it!”



Erin with her husband Tom on the right

Erin Lynch, BSN, RN

“Running has always been an outlet to exercise, spend time outside and unwind. I live on the Boston Marathon route and always enjoy watching the runners accomplish their goals. Prior to this year, I was very impressed with the Stepping Strong team and had a blast cheering for them as they ran by with huge grins on their faces. This inspired me to look into the team and the Stepping Strong Center. The Reny family’s story is truly inspirational — taking the tragedy of the Boston Marathon bombing and creating a greater purpose and mission is extraordinary. Being able to run the Boston Marathon was a dream come true. The weather was perfect on Monday, and the energy from the crowd was incredible! I was able to run with my husband, and we had our family and friends cheering for us as we ran by our home. Crossing the finish line on Boylston Street was an experience of a lifetime.”

Rebecca Pion, BSN, RN
Medical Intermediate Care, Braunwald Tower 16AB

“I absolutely loved being a part of the Stepping Strong Team on Marathon Monday. I’ve lived in Boston my whole life, so running the Boston Marathon has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I’ve had the pleasure of working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital since 2018, and I was more than enthusiastic and passionate about raising money for trauma innovation. Running on Monday was truly so inspiring. I was not only amazed by the runners around me but also by the spirit of everyone along every inch of that course cheering. Starting to enter Boston around mile 24 was a feeling like no other. I could not feel my legs in the slightest, but I knew I was almost done! Everything from Kenmore to Boylston is a bit of a blur, but in the best way. I was just coasting off the energy of the people around me, and crossing that finish line was the best feeling. The spirit of the city was so alive, and I was so happy to be a part of it. Truly an amazing city and race!”


Emilie Schlitt, BSN, RN, PCCN, CWOCN
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing

“It was an absolutely incredible experience from start to finish. I have always wanted to run the Boston Marathon. One of the things that makes the Boston Marathon so great is how you can challenge yourself and set an amazing goal while also running for a charity that is near and dear to your heart. There was never a question of which charity I would run for. Gillian Reny was my patient after the Boston Marathon bombing, and she inspired me every day with her positive attitude and the challenges she set for herself. The Reny family turned a horrific tragedy into hope for so many. I was honored to run for the Stepping Strong Marathon Team and blown away by all the love and support from my family and friends. I’ve met teammates who are sure to be lifelong running friends and an endless source of support and encouragement. The marathon day itself is something I will never forget. The weather was perfect, and the crowds were out in full force. To get a hug from Gillian and my family at mile 17.5 gave me that extra push to the finish line. It is a day I will never forget.”

Taylor (center) is joined by her daughters Emily (left) and Samantha (right).

Elizabeth Taylor, BSN, RN
Cardiac Care Unit, Shapiro 9 East

“I have been working as an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse here at the Brigham for 35 years. This year was my 60th birthday, and I ran with my two daughters who are also nurses. One of my daughters works here in the Medical Intermediate Unit, and my other daughter on works at South Shore Hospital in their Cardiac Care Unit. I am very grateful that I am able to run a marathon at 60 years old. I always think of my patients who are unable to run. Twenty years ago, I ran for Team Brigham with a former heart transplant patient of mine. That was also very memorable. I also worked the day of the Boston Marathon bombing and remember the profound sadness and stress our city experienced. It was such a pleasure to run with the Stepping Strong team again this year.”


Nicole (left) and Courtney (right)

Nicole White, BSN, RN, and Courtney Gouthro, BSN, RN
Burn, Trauma and Surgical Intermediate Care, Braunwald Tower 8AB

“We are so utterly blessed to have the opportunity to give back to a foundation that highlights our specialty. It feels so close to home for the Stepping Strong Center to place an emphasis on burn and trauma research/innovation. We have so much love for this charity, the Reny family and the Brigham for everything they’ve done during this process, not to mention our co-workers on 8ABCD!”