I don’t have a liver condition nor does anyone in my family, but I know the pain and worry a family can feel if they have a loved one with liver disease.
My relationship with the American Liver Foundation started in 2002 when I reached out to secure a spot in the Boston Marathon as part of the Foundation’s charity team. I had no idea what “becoming part of the team” meant with regard to the Marathon and how it would affect my life. After that first marathon, I was asked if I would like to be matched with a liver patient for inspiration and to make the marathon experience more meaningful. I answered “yes” and it was then that a young boy, just one year old at the time, entered and changed my life forever.
Zachary Rue, my patient match, was diagnosed at birth with a rare form of pediatric liver disease known as Biliary Atresia. Zac is now 10 years old. He and his mother, Heather, continue to fight a tireless battle against his condition. I continue to run marathons with the American Liver Foundation to support Zac and all of those touched by liver disease.
Earlier this year Zac and I celebrated our 10th Boston Marathon together. This is a milestone that has so much meaning to me because Zac’s journey has not been easy, but I know it has been made better with the support of the American Liver Foundation. I started with nothing more than a personal goal to run the Boston Marathon and became extremely humbled to find an advocate burning inside. All of this in one decade, starting with one person who learned he could make a difference.
Over the past ten years great progress has been made in the study and treatment of liver disease, but much remains to be done. Today, the American Liver Foundation joins hundreds of nonprofits around the country to begin a new national day of giving called #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday celebrates the American tradition and spirit of giving during the holiday season. Please join me in making a donation to the American Liver Foundation today, so that Zac and the 30 million Americans with liver disease can have a better tomorrow.
Being part of the American Liver Foundation family has meant so much more to me than simply crossing a finish line. It has given me balance, perspective, generosity, and so much love. I hope you have similar experiences in your own life and I invite you to continue with us in the fight against liver disease. Thank you for giving today and may your life be filled with wonderful surprises and much meaning.
Thomas F. Nealon III
American Liver Foundation
Last updated on July 12th, 2022 at 12:53 pm