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Emily Ran the Boston Marathon To Give Thanks After 20 Years of Care: Donor Story

April 16, 2024

Emily joined her fellow Team Tufts MC runners as they took on the Boston Marathon, fundraising in support of Tufts Medical Center while training.

Emily Roach

In 2003, 5-year-old Emily was diagnosed with fibrous dysplasia by Tufts Medical Center doctor Stuart Braun, MD. A diagnosis of fibrous dysplasia means that Emily's bones are weak and more easily broken. It also makes her prone to aneurysmal bone cysts, a bone lesion that appears on the skull and requires surgical removal. When she arrived at Tufts Medical Center, Emily needed two surgeries on her right hip and had already broken her humerus bone in her upper arm twice.

Luckily, Emily was in good hands. Dr. Braun performed her 2 hip surgeries and treated her for her twice broken arm. Thus began a long and meaningful relationship between Emily and her care team at Tufts Medical Center.

As Emily continued to navigate her condition, Dr. Braun performed yet another surgery, this time for her knee. A second diagnosis of scoliosis in her early teen years meant Emily had to wear a back brace for three years and had frequent visits to Tufts Medical Center. She eventually required a spinal fusion at age thirteen. Dr. Braun and his team were there to help.

Now at 26-years-old, Emily still remembers the tremendous care she received during her multi-day hospital stay from the doctors and nurses that took care of her. "That was the moment I knew that I eventually would want to give back to Tufts Medical Center someday, and I knew I would want to run the Boston Marathon on Team Tufts MC," Emily recalls.

Emily Roach Boston Marathon 2024

Emily did just that. On April 15, Emily joined her fellow Team Tufts MC runners as they took on the Boston Marathon. Emily and her teammates raised money to support Tufts Medical Center as they trained. "I know that the money I'm raising is going towards a great organization, towards medical research and helping other patients like myself," Emily said.

Emily Roach Boston Marathon 2024

Emily’s health journey is not over. She continues to be treated by Dr. Heilman, MD, Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chair at Tufts Medical Center. Just this past summer, Dr. Heilman removed aneurysmal bone cysts from Emily’s skull.

"I feel extremely fortunate to be able to give back to Tufts Medical Center. I wouldn't be able to do this without the care that I've received and the nurses and doctors who took care of me," said Emily.

We are so grateful to Emily and to every one of our Team Tufts MC runners who are helping us fulfill our mission: to empower people to live their best lives by reimagining healthcare, advancing knowledge and pioneering discovery.

Emily Roach Boston Marathon 2024

P.S. Read about Emily's mom, Mary, a Tufts Medical Center nurse who received life-saving care here when she was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

Emily Roach
Patient Stories
Emily’s Story: A Painful Bone Condition Couldn’t Stop Tufts Medical Center Patient + Team Tufts MC Marathon Runner
A Tufts Medical Center patient since childhood, Emily Roach has undergone multiple brain and orthopedic surgeries to treat fibrous dysplasia. Now she’s a proud member of Team Tufts MC—running the Boston Marathon to help other patients thrive.
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Colleen O'Leary's Story – Kidney Donation
After learning of a chronic kidney disease, Colleen turned to the team at Tufts MC to find a kidney donor and found a match in her teammate and now life partner.
Tufts Medical Center patient, triathlete overcomes brain aneurysm to complete Ironman competition.

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