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Reasons to Run: Brooke Howitt, MD, competes in the Boston Marathon to fight brain tumors

Brooke Training

On Patriots Day, April 21, 2014, runners from across the globe will compete in the annual Boston Marathon, one of the most renowned running competitions in the world.

This year, the National Brain Tumor Society was fortunate enough to receive a number from the town of Newton, and we are excited to provide our number to Brigham and Women’s Hospital Fellow, and avid runner, Brooke Howitt, who will represent our organization and cause during this major event.

We asked Brooke to introduce herself and share her connection with the brain tumor community. Here’s what she had to say:

What is your role at Brigham and Women’s Hospital?

Currently, I am a Fellow in Women’s and Perinatal Pathology. Before that, I completed a residency in Anatomic Pathology here at BWH. In July, I will be coming on as staff here in the BWH Pathology department and as an instructor at Harvard Medical School.

What’s your marathon experience? 

I have never run the Boston Marathon, but it has been on my to-do list!

Can you tell us about your connection to the brain tumor cause? I have run a handful of marathons back in California; many half-marathons, countless 10ks and 5ks, and other short races. I ran cross-country and track in college (mainly 5k and 10k; cross country was 6k). In college, running was my life – I lived and breathed the sport. My teammates and my coach were incredibly important to me. Although I’ve slowed down a bit on the running (I only run 1-2 times a week typically), and am focusing more on my academic career now, I will always be a runner at heart!

Brooke Running

Even though I am not a Neuropathologist, as part of our training in pathology we do a significant amount of work in Neuropathology. So from that standpoint, I’m very familiar with all the types of brain tumors. And, although I do not take care of a patient face to face, I’ve still “cared” for patients with brain tumors behind the scenes (as most pathologists usually are).

From a personal perspective, I have known multiple people with brain tumors: a close family friend of my step-dad’s, a former teacher, and a friend. Although two of these people are currently alive and well, we lost my step-dad’s close friend a short time after his diagnosis. So this is very important to me!

How do you plan to raise the required funds? Any interesting fundraising activities planned?

I’m planning on emailing friends, family and colleagues, as well as posting on Facebook to fundraise. I’m also hoping that the National Brain Tumor Society community supports this endeavor. Although the goal is $5,000, I’m hoping to surpass that goal!

You can help Brooke reach her goal, and contribute to funding vital research and policy initiatives aimed at advancing treatment for brain tumors, by donating here.

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