Hospital Transplant Team Members Compete In Marathons

NEWARK –Three members of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Department at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center (NBIMC) and Saint Barnabas Medical Center have been inspired to train for and compete in recent marathons. Transplant Coordinators Tatiana Alvarez, RN, of Roselle, and Cathy Van Zile, RN, of Morristown, ran the New York City Marathon on Nov. 6, while Kathleen Foley, RN, of Somerset, participated in a two-day Avon Walk for Breast Cancer on Oct.5-16.

“The Renal and Pancreas Transplant Program is very proud of the accomplishments of these dedicated woman and team members,” says Debbie Morgan, LCSW, Director of the Transplant Division for Barnabas Health. “It is inspiring to see the grueling training and effort that goes into completing a marathon and it inspires other employees and our patients to reach their innermost potential.”

For Van Zile, who finished in three hours and 53 minutes, running marathons has become a way of life for this mother of three. The NYC event was her eighth marathon, and she has participated in races in Maui, Seattle, Boston, and the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington, DC. She found the Marine Corp Marathon to be particularly inspiring.

“There were many young wounded soldiers running, and for every wounded veteran there was a circle of four or five Marines around him or her, also running, to support their fellow soldier,” Van Zile relates. “It was very moving.”

The New York Marathon was an exciting experience because of the enthusiastic encouragement from the crowds.

“With the exception of going over the bridges, there was not one time on the route when people were not screaming their support,” Van Zile says.

Alvarez, who has participated in three ‘Beth Challenges,’ which are fitness and weight loss competitions at NBIMC, and regularly trains at the Beth Fitness Center, ran the 26.2 mile NYC Marathon in 5 hours, 14 minutes. Her training included daily 3-5 mile runs as well as longer runs on the weekends.

“I felt fairly good during the race and the time went very quickly,” she relates. “There were 47,000 runners at this year’s race. It felt great not to be by yourself and to participate with a huge group.”

She has found running to be a powerful stress reliever and an activity that she misses when she can’t exercise.

“With my schedule, being able to run at work has made all the difference,” she says. “It makes life much easier.”

Foley began training in April for the Avon Breast Cancer event. She walked the 26.2 miles in approximately 11 hours for the event on October 15 and the 13.1 mile race the second day in 4 hours.

She participated with two friends, both of whom had lost family members to breast cancer. Foley helped to raise $2,600 toward her walk and especially enjoyed the cheering sections, which were comprised of survivors, husbands who had lost wives to breast cancer, and friends wearing signs to represent those who had died.

“It was an unbelievable experience and one that I would recommend for everyone to do,” says Foley.

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