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Boston Marathon is more than a race for two Hanscom families
LEXINGTON, Mass. – Leah Beckett (right), along with Meghan Rohatgi and her mother, Tara, greet diners at Margaritas restaurant Feb. 21. Beckett is running the Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation in honor of Rohatgi who was diagnosed with Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis. (Courtesy photo)
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Boston Marathon is more than a race for two Hanscom families

Posted 2/22/2012   Updated 2/22/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mark Wyatt
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

2/22/2012 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Two local connections to the military will soon take on more than just training for the 116th Boston Marathon on April 16. They will both raise money for causes that are personal to each of them.

U.S. Navy Commander Andy Gish, who is stationed at MIT, will run the marathon as a member of the Run for Team Memory on behalf of the Alzheimer's research and support services.

Leah Beckett, a U.S. Army spouse, will run the marathon to raise money for the American Liver Foundation on the Run for Research Boston Marathon team.

The goal for Gish and the 15 members of Run for Team Memory is to raise $150,000 for Alzheimer's research and support services for families.

Alzheimer's disease is a degenerative and fatal disease of the brain for which there is no cure. People with this disease lose their ability to remember, to think, to communicate and to care for themselves.

Alzheimer's is personal for Gish, who is watching his mother live with the disease.

"My entire family is learning to deal with the challenges and difficulties that this disease presents," said Gish. "The Alzheimer's Association has been a valuable resource for my family to learn more about it."

In order to reach his goal, Gish will hold a fundraiser March 6 at the Ninety-Nine restaurant in West Concord from 5 to 10 p.m. The restaurant will donate 15 percent of the check for all parties that present a voucher. Tickets will also be sold and a drawing held that night for prizes donated by local businesses.

In addition to fundraising efforts locally, Gish encourages those interested in making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association to visit http://alz.kintera.org/boston2012/gish. The voucher can also be found on this page.

Beckett has set a goal to raise $5,000 for the liver foundation to provide more community-based education, research and support to those afflicted with liver disease.
Beckett was encouraged to run the Boston Marathon by a friend whose daughter, Meghan Rohatgi, was diagnosed with Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis when she was 4 years old.

"Meghan suffers from the same liver disease that NFL Hall of Fame player Walter Payton suffered from," said Beckett. "She is now ten years old and in the fifth grade and has been hospitalized three times this school year and on another 'new' medication to slow the disease's progression."

She is hosting a fundraiser at Margaritas restaurant in Lexington on Feb. 28. Diners who mention the American Liver Foundation prior to being seated will have 15 percent of their pre-taxed and pre-tip bill donated to the foundation.

Beckett also encourages anyone interested in training with her to email leah.beckett@gmail.com.

"I have never run a marathon before and this is an exciting opportunity for people who are interested in helping others," said Beckett. "I complete most all of my training runs on base, and think it would be great to get some other runners out running with me."

For more information on liver disease or to make a contribution to Beckett and the American Liver Foundation, visit her website.

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