When nearly 35,000 runners take their marks at the 2014 Boston Marathon on Monday, April 21, there is no doubt that the tragic events of 2013 will be on their minds. And for one young competitor from Jacksonville Beach, FL, the Marathon will be especially cathartic – an opportunity to help the city of Boston heal, raise funds for charity, and overcome personal tragedy.
The journey to the Boston Marathon has been a long one for Karen Moers, who is studying business at the University of North Florida while supporting herself as a licensed massage therapist at Massage Envy Spa Jacksonville Beach. In 2009, her father was involved in a catastrophic motorcycle accident that has left him with severe brain damage. After several months in ICU, he was moved to a nursing home for brain injury patients, where he remains today with 24-hour care – unaware of his surroundings and unable to recognize his family. As a way of coping with this devastating situation, Moers began running with her sister, whom she had not been close with growing up. As their running distance increased, the distance between them evaporated, and the two became inseparable.
Connected by their shared tragedy and growing love for running, Karen and her sister each set their sights on running marathons, as well as living a healthier, more meaningful and compassionate life. For her part, Moers became a licensed massage therapist while pursuing her business degree, and is passionate about providing therapeutic healing through her rewarding career at Massage Envy Spa Jacksonville Beach. Alongside her fellow Massage Envy Spa therapists, she often donates her time providing massages for a variety of charitable causes, including the Arthritis Foundation, Dreams Come True and the Ronald McDonald House of Jacksonville. Through Massage Envy Spa’s partnership with the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) – one of the non-profit organizations selected by Boston Marathon sponsor John Hancock to raise funds and receive donated running spots in the annual event, Moers was chosen from among massage therapists at more than 900 Massage Envy locations nationwide to run in the Boston Marathon as part of the MTF Running for Research Team.
As a result of her selection, Moers will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Boston, a complimentary spot in the Marathon, and moral support as she joins her teammates in raising funds and awareness for MTF. MTF is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the knowledge and practice of massage therapy by supporting scientific research, education and community service. Community service grants by MTF are utilized to provide massage and bodywork to under-served populations, including hospice patients, disabled orphans, people living with HIV/AIDS, seniors, and others.
“I am extremely honored to represent Massage Envy Spas across the country in the Boston Marathon while raising funds for the Massage Therapy Foundation, which has had a profound impact on the practice of massage therapy as well as on individuals suffering from debilitating illnesses around the world,” said Moers. “Both of these organizations are passionate about giving back, and I am indebted for the opportunity to be part of the healing process at this year’s historic Boston Marathon.” From now until April 1, Moers will be collecting donations, with 100% of the proceeds donated to the Massage Therapy Foundation.
To make a donation to MTF in support of Moers’ participation in the Boston Marathon, visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/mtf2014bostonmarathon/fundraiser/karenmoers
For more information on MTF, visit: http://www.massagetherapyfoundation.org