Ever wanted to make a difference in the world and thought to yourself that you’d leave it to someone else? We’ve all been there. It takes too many people to move a mountain. It takes too much time and effort to make any real changes. Keep reading, and you’ll soon change your tune, and find that all it takes in the will to do it and a few steps in the right direction.
Recently, one Tulane medical student, Alex Bernadett, originally from the Boston area, watched along with the rest of the world while we viewed images of the horrors unfolding during the Boston Marathon. A time to gather and showcase the triumph of the human spirit soon turned to tragedy, and Bernadette felt close to the situation.
“The Boston Marathon bombings on April 15 left me stunned, angry and saddened. Watching the events unfold from New Orleans, I felt helpless. My dad completed the Boston Marathon seven times. Some of the earliest memories I have are of my older sister and me watching him run in Boston. For many years, we would stand near the finish line to see him complete his journey,” said Bernadett.
This young medical student came up with a plan. He wanted to help the victims of the Boston bombings by doing something that would honor them in a way that seemed fitting.
“I was in the middle of planning bike ride from New Orleans to Baton Rouge to attend the Tulane vs. LSU game on Wednesday, April 24. After the bombings, I decided it would be a more proper tribute to dedicate a 26.2 mile run, the length of the Boston Marathon, to the victims and their families. Thus, the Biathlon for Boston was born,” he said.
This morning at 7 a.m., Bernadett, along with two friends and fellow medical students, Brad Gillette and Taylor Peak, left from Fern Street in New Orleans for a 58.5 mile bike ride to the corner of Airline Hwy. and Hwy. 30 in Gonzales. From there, they set out at around 12:30 p.m. for a 26.2 mile run to Alex Box Stadium, heading down Hwy. 30 to the Nicholson Extension.
I managed to catch up with the trio as they made their way into Gonzales today. Tired, but determined, all three were still focused on their goal.
“We’ve got a few hours left,” said Bernadett. “We hit some bad weather, but it doesn’t change why we’re doing this.”
Bernadett decided to take this trip one step further by developing a fundraiser for the victims of the Boston bombings and their families. Supporters of this cause can make a donation to The One Fund by visiting http://www.onefundboston.org/.
“The One Fund is a soon to be 501©3 charitable foundation and is supported by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino. It has received a $1 million contribution from John Hancock, the main sponsor of the Boston Marathon, and multiple other large sponsorships,” said Bernadett.
Anyone can give and no amount is too small or too large. Bernadett hopes that by raising awareness, funds can increase and the healing can begin.
“My intention for this fundraiser is to honor the individuals who were injured or tragically lost their lives at the same location where I watched my dad finish multiple Boston Marathons. 8 year-old Martin Richard, 20 year-old Krystle Marie Campbell and 23 year-old Lu Lingzi will never get another chance to see their family, to grow up, or experience a marathon. It is my intention to honor these fallen Americans and the City of Boston in its time of need,” said Bernadett.
So if you happen to be heading down Hwy.30 or making your way onto campus tonight, and you see three young men running with conviction, honk your horns, shout out to them, and encourage them as they make their way to the finish line. They plan on being there in time for tonight’s game.
We need more in the world like Alex Bernadett, Brad Gillette and Taylor Peak. We need more who give of themselves in simple ways to show great compassion in times of struggle. Our hats are off to you young men. Today you run for a purpose. You run for all of us. We’ll move more mountains because of people like you.
Photos by Krist Norsworthy