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GSSW Alumna Runs for Team Eye and Ear in 2014 Boston Marathon

(Image courtesy of Emily Greising Remenschneider)

Emily Greising Remenschneider, a 2007 Graduate School of Social Work alumna, and her husband Aaron have always believed that the place where he works – the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary – is a special one. But the events of last Patriots Day redoubled that belief, and this year they’ll be running their very first marathon to support the work of Mass Eye and Ear.

At the outset, as Emily recalls, Patriots Day 2013 looked to be a fairly uneventful one for the couple. Aaron, a fifth-year chief resident, went into work and was scheduled to be on call throughout the night; Emily had been serving jury duty, but with the courts closed because of the holiday she went to her office in Waltham (Wide Horizons for Children, an international child welfare organization) to do some catching up.

“In the early afternoon, I received a message from my cousin in New York asking about explosions at the marathon,” she says. “I immediately tried to see what information I could find, but everything was so unclear.”

When she arrived home that afternoon, Emily saw “lines of ambulances as far as you could see” and numerous streets blocked off; the sounds of helicopters and sirens continued through the evening.

Meanwhile, victims of the bombings were arriving at the city’s hospitals, including Mass Eye and Ear. Aaron and his colleagues worked through the night evaluating and treating patients for ear pain, hearing loss, and other head and neck injuries caused by the force of, or shrapnel from, the blasts. Many patients had to receive follow-up care in the ensuing weeks and months.

(Image courtesy of Emily Greising Remenschneider)

It was the kind of experience that tests the mettle of a healer, but Emily had little doubt Aaron could meet the challenge. “Aaron has always placed a lot of importance on the personal side of patient care. Supporting the sick through difficult times has been one of his draws to medicine.”

Moreover, Aaron and his colleagues at Mass Eye and Ear, along with doctors from other Boston medical centers, saw a potential to learn from the tragedy: They have embarked on a research project to study the long-term impact of blast-related ear injuries.

Native Indianans though they may be, the Remenschneiders have fallen in love with their adopted city, and while sharing in the horror and dismay over the bombings, Emily says, they also were heartened by the strength and resilience shown by the community. So the idea of running the Boston Marathon to benefit hearing-related research at Mass Eye and Ear seemed a perfect way to express their feelings about the place they call home, and the people in it.

“This year we are running in support of a city that we love,” says Emily, who reports she and Aaron have been training assiduously for this, their first marathon of any kind. “We hope to honor all the incredible people that were present last year, and to help raise awareness and funds for a cause we believe in.”

Read the next story in our 'BC & the Boston Marathon: One Year Later" series here