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news News Thursday, August 20, 2020 Thursday, August 20, 2020 2:15 PM - Thursday, August 20, 2020 2:15 PM

Former patient runs virtual Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Boston Shriners Hospital

Former patient runs virtual Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Boston Shriners Hospital

Former Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston patient, 33-year-old Matthew Paul, is making a personal dream come true: He is running the Boston Marathon. Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced the postponement and then cancellation of the beloved sporting event in 2020, organizers are hosting a virtual marathon from September 7-14. While it will not look like he envisioned when registering for this year’s race, Matthew will run the 26.2 miles, traveling a slightly different path so he can finish at the Boston Shriners Hospital on 51 Blossom Street. Matthew has been training for the marathon outside, logging 1,192 miles and 420 hours so far. This will be his fourth marathon. Matthew will run his race on Sunday, September 13, and hopes to cross his Shriners Hospitals finish line by noon.

With fond memories of the friendships formed and care he received at the Boston Shriners Hospital, Matthew is raising funds for the facility as part of his marathon experience. Matthew told his grandparents if he were to win the lottery, he would donate the money to the Boston Shriners Hospital. Although running 26.2 miles is not the lottery, Matthew is turning the virtual marathon into an opportunity to support the hospital.

Matthew’s relationship with the Boston Shriners Hospital began in July of 1989 when he was just 2 years old. A horrific incident left his hand with third-degree burns and significant disfigurement. Matthew was seen at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Nashua, New Hampshire, then was rushed to the Boston Shriners Hospital. Matthew remained a patient for over fifteen years. He had skin grafts, fused joints, physical therapy, general therapy and dozens of surgeries to reconstruct his right hand.

Matthew spent several years of his young life in an orphanage until his grandparents brought him to live with them when he was 7. They could not afford the care needed to treat his extensive hand injuries, but fortunately, Matthew was in the right place. Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston covered 100% of Matthew’s fifteen years of care.

Now that Matthew is 33, he looks back on the many positive memories of the Boston Shriners Hospital. They include close relationships with his doctors, nurses and other patients from around the world who became like family. He also remembers the Boston Shriners Hospital staff arranging some unforgettable experiences, including meeting the Boston Red Sox, attending Red Sox games in amazing seats and meeting other Boston athletes.

Matthew started running regularly in 2008 and decided to use the Boston Marathon to raise funds for the Boston Shriners Hospital. First, he had to qualify for it. He participated many times in Lowell’s Baystate Marathon in an effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon. This year, Matthew’s friend Tanya made his dream come true by securing a bid for him to participate in the 2020 race.

Matthew said, “As I look back at my difficult start in life, I realize that, in many ways, it’s not what happens to you in life, but what you do with what happened to you. That concept really pushes me to do good in this world.”

To support Matthew’s cause and children in need of life-changing specialty care, please visit his fundraising page. Support Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston and learn more about Matthew’s incredible journey.

Matthew with bandages as a child