He plays American football in Germany and on Christmas Day she heard from him for the very first time. He was the man who saved her life.
Mary Taber was a middle distance runner in high school. She was a good runner on her school’s indoor and outdoor track teams. Her favorite distance was the 400m and on one of those miserable, early spring days in Upstate NY she battled freezing rain and howling winds to a PR.
But her favorite sport is dance. Always has been. But then suddenly something stood in her way. Something much worse than that early spring weather in high school. Something much worse than anyone should ever have to face. Aplastic Anemia. It’s a rare, bone marrow failure disease that Mary was diagnosed with in her junior year at Boston College. But she danced on and became the Director of the Dance Organization at BC. Two years later she relapsed and was diagnosed with her SECOND rare bone marrow disease PNH, Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria! Mary needed a bone marrow transplant and someone to help save her life.
He is 26 years old and they talked about Star Wars.
Finally in 2011, after the transplant she started running again. Well, more like chugging, as she put it. It was slow at first, almost baby steps. No energy, no strength, nothing. But she kept at it. And little by little the running came back.
‘Happy Marrowiversary.’ That was the plan. How cool would it be to run Boston in 2012, just one year after the transplant? The two bone marrow diseases, the transplant, blood and platelet transfusions, all of that was just too much to overcome in 365 days. But like she did on that miserable spring day in high school, Mary kept fighting. Kept running. And since, she has run a bunch of 5k’s, eight half marathons and her first full marathon in Columbus, OH this past October.
Today, Mary is the coach of the Boston College Golden Eagles Dance Team and on Monday, April 18, she will finally be celebrating her ‘Marrowiversary’. She’ll be running the 120th Boston Marathon on the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team with a thankful and grateful heart to those who gave so much to her for four years.
He’s 3700 miles away and they’ve never met. She’s hoping he’ll make his first trip to the United States for the 2016 Boston Marathon. It still seems surreal. He’s the man who saved her life.