Bananas, Blessings & Boston

By Leslie A. Young
[Editor's Note]

A year ago, I dedicated this space to ABMP President Les Sweeney’s training for the Boston Marathon. Les ran on a charity bib granted by marathon sponsor John Hancock to the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF). Les, above right, raised $17,555 for the MTF. The three-person MTF Running For Research team raised $52,500 and put massage therapy in the spotlight at one of the nation’s leading sporting events. Bon Vital’ President Tom Heidenberger, far left above, raised $25,750! As an MTF trustee, I was thrilled to cheer them on.
Of course, the events of that day will stay with us forever. We were blessed. Our group of Les supporters (most of whom wore, um, banana suits) missed a train, so we weren’t in our VIP seats at the finish line where we should have been at the time of the blast. Les ran strong, but he was pulled up less than a mile short of the finish line when the race was stopped. None of us witnessed the blood and tears we could have.
For almost an hour, we tried to find Les and vice versa. Each believed the other to have been at the finish line at blast time. I’ll never forget when Les’s wife, Sarah, finally got his call and we reunited with him and the rest of the team—all safe.
Living well is the best revenge, so let’s fast-forward to 2014. One of Les’s cheerleaders will don the charity bib this year (the second banana on the left above)—Kathy Laskye, a school liaison in ABMP’s Education Department. She helps educators and schools be their best, and works hard ensuring flawless logistics for our annual ABMP School Issues Forum.
Kathy calls herself a recreational runner. I call her smart. She doesn’t obsess about the finish line; she covers her long distances one segment at a time, rationally calculating how best to get there in fine form. Her primary goal is to raise more money for the MTF than Les did last year! And she’s proud to run, representing ABMP’s 82,000-plus members and her partners in massage therapy education.
My money’s on Kathy—literally. I’m honored to donate to the MTF through her run and you can, too. I’ll be there cheering her on (perhaps even wearing a banana suit), just one of a record-breaking number of runners and spectators determined to preserve the resilient spirit of the marathon and its host city.
I still have my unused VIP pass at my desk. It keeps me mindful and thankful. Thankful for bananas, blessings, diversions, and friends. Because they’re all part of the journey.
Support Kathy and the Massage Therapy Foundation team today at

Leslie A. Young, Editor-in-Chief

To read this article in our digital issue, click here.