The upcoming Boston Marathon holds deep meaning for the seven members of the Brigham Nursing and Patient Care Services departments who will run with the hospital’s Stepping Strong team.

The funds they raise will support The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation, which aims to propel interdisciplinary trauma innovation, research and care for the benefit of patients worldwide. The Reny family established the center to honor the Brigham team that saved the life and limbs of their daughter, Gillian, who was critically injured in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.

On this tenth anniversary of the bombings, team members share their inspiration for joining the Stepping Strong team.

Maya Barrett-Tzannes, Medical Assistant, Medical Specialties Clinic

“As an employee of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and hopefully a future doctor, I have seen the amazing work that is done at the Brigham and the exceptional level of care that is provided. I am running for the Stepping Strong team to be able to contribute to this level of care and, although I am qualified to run on my own, I am hoping to be a part of something larger than myself as I race! I am excited to be a member of a team working for a common goal and to be able to encourage others on the journey of training and running the marathon.”

Robin Powell (left) and Nicole Canas (right)

Nicole Canas, BSN, RN, Braunwald Tower 5B Oncology

“I am always looking to challenge myself to remind myself that I can do hard things. My oncology patients remind me of this every day that I come to work as a nurse at the Brigham. I have worked here for almost three years now, this past year being the first as an RN. The Brigham will always have a special place in my heart as I have learned so much about myself within these hospital walls. The Brigham has instilled in me a confidence that I can do hard things. And I am honored to run for a hospital that means so much to so many. It seems that everyone whose life path has taken them to the Brigham is somehow bettered by the experience, whether that be as a patient, a family member, a friend or an employee. The thought of running with a team where every member has their own story of why the Brigham is a special place to them is why I am here.”

Alev Cansever, LCSW, Social Work

“Growing up outside of Boston, I have spent my life watching the marathon, being inspired by the runners, wondering what it would be like to compete in this demanding race, representing the city I love and have called home for 26 years of my life. I have such pride for this city and am a true believer of Boston Strong. I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the Boston Marathon Bombings 10 years ago and remember just as well how my city came together and showed its strength during the aftermath. I have been thinking about running my first marathon for some time, and the Boston Marathon is a very special opportunity to do it. I am honored to represent The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center, which truly embodies what it means to be ‘Boston Strong.’ I am a medical social worker, and I work with many people who have disabilities and traumatic injuries. I understand first-hand the importance of medicine and funding research into medical advancements. I also very much understand the difficulties that patients face with getting top and innovative care, and many life-saving treatments would not be possible without organizations such as this one.”

Ally Martinis, DPT, Physical Therapy, Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care in Foxboro

“As a physical therapist, I work with limb-loss patients and prosthetic training. I’m passionate about fundraising for the betterment of my patients, advancing research for limb-loss revisions/surgeries, and improving their quality of life overall. As this is the 10-year anniversary of the horrific bombing, this year has even deeper meaning for my patients and all trauma/limb-loss survivors. During school, and as a per diem therapist right out of school, I spent many months working at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. This was my first exposure to patients who had gone through severe trauma and experienced some sort of limb loss. Although it was intimidating at first, I quickly began to fall in love with the rewarding work of helping these patients. Today, I am so thankful to care for my patients at the Brigham and help them work hard to accomplish all their goals. I am ready to commit to run a marathon with this organization that holds meaning near and dear to my heart. I not only WANT to run on this team. I NEED to for the future of my patients.”

Robin Powell, BSN, RN, ACLS, Burn, Trauma and Surgical Intermediate Care

“The entire day and event are incredibly inspiring to me, and I have always had the Boston Marathon on my bucket list. I feel it would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience to run the Boston Marathon with the whole city cheering you on. I recently ran my first marathon in Chicago and was shocked at how the training has truly tested my limits. Since graduating college, I have worked on Tower 8AB as a nurse. I am honored to raise money for the Stepping Strong Center as many of my coworkers have done before me.”

Jodi Swenson, MSN, RN, Emergency Department Flow Manager

“I worked the day of the marathon and was the primary nurse who cared for Gillian Reny in the Emergency Department. Gillian, a high school senior, was one of the 39 critically injured patients rushed to Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where doctors and nurses saved her life and both of her legs. I have followed Gillian’s progression of recovery over the years. What I took away from this tragic event was that, despite the trauma and pain, hope and resilience were born. And that is what The Gillian Reny Stepping strong Center for Trauma and Innovation has done for so many. I would like to run the 10-year anniversary in honor of Gillian and all those who have sustained life-changing traumatic injuries.”

Alyssa Willis, BSN, RN, Gynecologic Surgical Oncology

“I have always wanted to run a marathon, especially the Boston Marathon. It is one of the best days of the year, filled with pride and everyone rallying around each other with a mix of emotions. I have been working at the Brigham for three years as a nurse and have always had an interest in the Brigham Stepping Strong Marathon team. I don’t typically work with a lot of trauma patients, but I see the impact that the doctors and nurses at the Brigham have on patients every day. I was especially inspired by one of my youngest patients, who recently passed away at the age of 26. The Brigham became a second home for her and her family with multiple lengthy visits in and out of the hospital. It really made me realize how short life can be, and I want to live it to the fullest while I can. I want to run in her memory this year.”