Marathon Momma Full Steam Ahead – With Love
Motivated By Gratitude

Two things motivate Stefanie Smolinsky to push through cold, early morning runs as she trains for the Boston Marathon: her children and Beverly Hospital. Stefanie joined Team Lahey, a proud official charity of the John Hancock Non-Profit Program, in gratitude for both.

Both of her children’s births were complicated, and the babies spent their first days of life in Beverly Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “It was just chaos for so many hours, and then they help you just transition right into life,” Stefanie recalled. “The care you receive at Beverly is truly second to none.”

That’s one of the reasons why she is using her marathon bid to raise $15,000 for expanded maternity services at the hospital.

“To be giving back to the exact labor and delivery unit that brought these two healthy babies to me is really worth its weight in gold,” said Stefanie, who works as a Talent Acquisition Operations Manager in Burlington for Lahey Health. Now those babies are healthy and happy adolescents at ages 11 and 14, eagerly hitting the trail with their mother as she trains for the April 15 race.

“They’re really good kids, I’m very lucky,” Stefanie said on a recent afternoon at Endicott Park in Danvers before she, Evan and Skyler ran the 5-mile track as a family, inspiring each other to push through the biting wind.

Life-saving catch

Stefanie’s children aren’t the only reason she is thankful for Beverly Hospital.

In 2015, she was in her doctor’s office clad in what she called “that fabulous paper dress” when the physician noticed a suspicious-looking mole on her back. When the lab results came back, the diagnosis was melanoma — an often deadly skin cancer. A dermatologist removed the growth, leaving her with “a nice six-inch scar on my back to prove it,” Stefanie said, laughing.

Stefanie will always be grateful to the doctor who caught it so quickly.  “Had she not taken the care to check my entire body, who knows what would have happened?”

The finish line

How will she feel when she runs across the finish line on Boylston Street this year? “I think it’s my mantra of taking something that’s impossible and saying, ‘I’m possible,’” she said, choking up. “It means a lot.”