Running for Mom – and Cancer Patients at Beverly Hospital

Lauren Washnock-Maldonado and her mother, Cathy, were best friends. “We were inseparable,” she said. “We did everything together.” That “everything” included Cathy’s treatments for her endometrial cancer. Lauren took her mother to the hospital for every appointment until she died last spring. The memory of her mother is what will help her cross the Boston Marathon® finish line in April. She’ll also raise money for Beverly Hospital’s Oncology Fund in her mother’s memory.

Lauren works as a nurse at Beverly Hospital. When her mother became sick, she took a leave of absence, and her whole hospital floor supported her. Her coworkers checked in on her, and dropped off food, flowers and cards at her house.

Dealing with her mother’s cancer made Lauren appreciate her impact as a nurse and what patients go through when they visit the hospital. It inspired her $12,000 fundraising goal for oncology.  “I think it’s really important to raise this money for this community hospital,” Lauren said. “I think we’re so lucky to have a hospital like this on the North Shore. Not everyone wants to take the trip to Boston. Being sick is stressful enough.”

Having that empathy for patients is just one of the ways Lauren makes a difference every night at work. She works three 12-hour night shifts. But it doesn’t bother her. “I love being a nurse,” Lauren said. “I’m a fixer and a helper. I can help people get better and go home.”

As a mom of three, caring for her young patients takes on an even more special meaning. Lauren says that after a night of caring for a sick child, she always goes home and hugs her own kids a little tighter.

Lauren’s kids are excited about her running the Boston Marathon, too. They cheer her on as she trains in their Ipswich neighborhood. “My kids say, ‘Mom, you’re obsessed with running.’”

For now, Lauren is looking ahead to Boylston Street and the moment she crosses that finish line. “I’ll cry like a baby,” she said. “It’s just been a dream of mine forever to run the Boston Marathon. To do it in memory of my mom and for both my parents to be angels on my back, I’ll cry like a baby, like I said. It’ll be a huge accomplishment and just wonderful.”