Dear Stepping Strong Teammates,
We are honored you will participate with us in the virtual B.A.A. 5K® over Patriot’s Day weekend to support The Gillian Reny Stepping Strong Center for Trauma Innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. As we embrace another year of virtual races, your fundraising efforts are not only meaningful to our family personally, but to all the trauma survivors who are benefitting from the center’s research and programs.
When our family was standing at the finish line that fateful day in April 2013, we had no idea how, in just one instant, our lives would be forever changed. That is the nature of trauma; it is something unexpected that puts you on a path you never anticipated. We are forever grateful we landed at the Brigham. The emergency medical team worked miracles to save our daughter Gillian’s life and limbs and put our family back together again in the midst of chaos.
When we decided we wanted to give back to the medical heroes who helped us and the many other innocent survivors, we learned that trauma care was an under-recognized, underfunded area—despite some sobering statistics. For instance, trauma is the number one cause of death for people 46 years or younger; it accounts for 43 million emergency department visits each year; and costs an astounding $7 billion a year. So, we established the Stepping Strong Center to become a new positive force of change. To date, we have raised more than $19 million, funded 35 innovative research teams, talked about trauma issues on national and local TV, and engaged tens of thousands of people worldwide to join us in our mission. Whether you are an alum or a new team member, we are grateful to have you in the Stepping Strong family!
Your commitment to the Stepping Strong Team is another example of the kindness of the human spirit our family experienced firsthand at the Brigham and from the Boston community. As you tie up your running (or walking) shoes, we hope you take pride in being part of a vibrant community dedicated to transforming outcomes for survivors of traumatic injuries and events.
While we wish we were able to see you in person this year, know that we are with you in spirit wherever you are in the world. We look forward to the day we can all be together again and are so grateful you have decided to support a cause that means so much to us. Thank you for joining our journey. Together, we are turning tragedy into hope.
With love and gratitude,
Audrey, Steven, Danielle and Gillian Reny
PS: To learn about our mission through videos, newsletters, and more, visit steppingstrong.bwh.harvard.edu.