The recent Boston Marathon marked the 9 year anniversary of the passing of Dr. Cynthia Lucero. Cynthia was a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America’s Team In Training program that Lori and I coached for 12 years. Cynthia had completed her first marathon, the 2000 Rock n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. She was passionate about volunteerism and was so excited to be training for the 2002 Boston Marathon with us.
Her wisdom defied her young 28 years…she embraced volunteerism more than any person I have known. She received her doctoral degree at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology just prior to the Boston Marathon. Lori and I attended her colloquim along with her family from Ecuador. Her doctoral dissertation was titled, Effects Of A Marathon Training Program On Family Members and Friends Of Cancer Patients. Lori and I both lost parents to pancreatic cancer and leukemia so Cynthia interviewed us in our home.
Cynthia described this time as her ‘week of triumph’ and the completion of the 2002 Boston Marathon was going to me the crown jewel in a week filled with accomplishment. I interacted with Cynthia at Mile 15 near the Wellesley Community Center; it’s where we trained each week throughout the training season. Her larger than life smile will be indelibly etched in my memory and heart forever. She collapsed near Mile 22 in Cleveland Circle and her last words were, “My Honored Hero!” She was rushed to Brigham and Women’s hospital in a near comatose state. I departed immediately for the hospital with Lori, Iris Gleason (Executive Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and Cynthia’s family. She was immediately placed on life support and we gathered with hope that she would make it through the night.
Lori and I visited with Cynthia and her mother and knew the prognosis didn’t look promising. That moment shook me to the core…I was uncertain whether I could continue as a marathon running coach. I don’t think Lori has been the same since. I said goodbye to Cynthia and departed for the Team In Training Victory Party to inform her teammates of what happened. Standing before them and doing everything possible to contain my emotions…I delivered the unfortunate news and we held a moment of silence for Cynthia. I was undoubtedly a different person from that moment on!
She was removed from life-support two days later and we held a Celebration Of Life service in the same room as her colloquim just a few days prior. I have never been on such an emotional roller coaster but I felt such a commitment to Cynthia and her family. Lori and I spent a quiet moment with her parents and reassured them we would NEVER allow their daughter’s memory to fade. I explained that I would begin by trying to live my life similarly to Cynthia’s by embracing 5 attributes that she personified.
1. She removed all worry from her mind.
2. She removed all hatred from her heart.
3. She lived very simply.
4. She gave so much.
5. She expected so little.
While I continue to achieve just one of the aforementioned traits, Cynthia’s memory inspires me to keep trying!
Much positive has resulted from this unfortunate tragedy.
The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Mental Health Program (LMHP)has been established at MSPP.
Runners and physicians throughout the world are now more informed about hyponatremia (water intoxication).
More than 11 women benefitted from Cynthia’s organs.
Marissa Auberach’s life was saved as she received Cynthia’s heart. Here is a picture of Marissa with Cynthia’s parents at the finish line of the Annual Dr. Cynthia Lucero Run/Walk held on the grounds of MSPP to benefit the program named in her honor.
The Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology 2011 Gala, Supporting The Lucero Legacy, is being held on Friday, April 29th. I hope that you will consider making a donation by going to http://www.mspp.edu/gala. Your contribution will help considerably in the effort to honor Cynthia’s memory and keep her spirit alive in the hearts of so many!