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Running toward a Cure Tim’s Team to Run Boston Marathon for Timothy O’Connell Foundation

For the third year, Tim’s Team will run the Boston Marathon.
This year’s team, which supports the Timothy O’Connell Foundation, established in loving memory of Timothy O’Connell, who battled Acute Myeloid Leukemia until he passed away just before his 10th birthday, has six members – Timmy’s Mom, Joanne O’Connell, David Keim, Angela Lawless, Jeff McLindon, John Mulvaney and Matt Picard-Fraser.
Tim’s Team is "Running for Research" to support research of Timmy's specific disease, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) with a FLT3 Mutation, being done at the University of Minnesota by Timmy's doctor, Dr. Peter Gordon - in Timmy's honor. Dr. Gordon just left Boston to return to his home city of St. Paul and to pursue heading up his own lab - and to work specifically on the FLT3 Mutation as well as one other related Mutation of AML. In early March, the Timothy O'Connell Foundation donated $25,000 to the lab, and they hope to raise more with the marathon effort.
“We are so happy to be supporting the good works of Dr. Peter Gordon and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota,” says Timmy’s Mom, Joanne O’Connell, who’s leading up the Tim’s Team Boston Marathon team.
O’Connell started running for conditioning and sports in high school, but this will be her fourth marathon, and her third Boston Marathon. She also rides the Pan Mass Challenge. An Office Manager/Registered Assistant for Main Effort Financial, in Holliston and a Senior Culinary Producer and Executive Chef for WGBH’s Simply Ming, O’Connell and her husband, Kevin, donate many hours to the Timothy O’Connell Foundation.
The Timothy O'Connell Foundation’s first goal is to fund such research projects to find cures for and causes of the type of cancer that Timmy had. It also aims to help finance charities that help cancer patients under 18 and their families, as well as raise money for a scholarship and grants to Holliston graduates committed to researching treatments and cures for cancers affecting children.
David Keim, Principal of the Miller School in Holliston, says he’s running his third marathon, if you count last year’s when he got stopped due to the bombing.
“Timmy was part of the Miller School when he passed away, and all 4 boys have gone through the middle school,” says Keim. He fondly remembers the year the school raised $56,000 through their jump-a-thon, something that meant a lot to time, according to his Dad, Kevin O’Connnell.
Angela Lawless, a firefighter and EMT in Holliston and Maynard, has been friends with Joanne O’Connell for a long time, and she, too, is a mother. This will be her 12th marathon and her fifth Boston Marathon. “It takes a village,” she says.
Team member John Mulvaney is on his 7th marathon, having done the Boston Marathon three times. A swimmer who has also done triathlons, the painting contractor, who owns TLC Painting, hasn’t run a marathon for 30 years, but he stays in shape. His son, Mark, was in Tim’s class at school.
Jeff McClindon jokes that he’s “got nothing else to do,” as he’s on his 28th marathon and his 10th Boston Marathon. The owner of JM Construction is also moved to be part of Tim’s Team as a Holliston resident and parent.
Matt Picard-Fraser, a freshman at Wake Forest University, was inspired to run through his mother’s experience as Tim’s teacher.
“She would actually tutor him one-on-one, and she would always come up with these stories, saying he reminded her of how I was when I was his age. I never got to meet him, but I felt like I knew him, like he was a younger version of me, in a sense. Because of that connection I’ve always wanted to do something to remember him, and what bigger sport is there in Boston than the Boston Marathon that I can participate in?”
Last year, underage, he ran as a bandit, but this year, he’s part of the team.
The Timothy O’Connell Foundation has held other fundraisers. This month, its Second Annual Orange Appeal, to be held April 5, 2014, has sold out. Last year, thanks to guests, auction item donors, chefs and sponsors—the Foundation raised more than $30,000.
Each year in September, the month of Timmy’s birthday, O’Connell sells Timmy Cakes to raise money, and last September was the third annual Tim's Trot, a 3K run/walk, a great family event started by Max Athy in 2011 for his NHS leadership project. In the spring, Brendan O’Connell, Timmy’s brother, will work on his NHS leadership project, a Wiffle Ball Tournament, to raise money for the foundation, which has awarded $300,000 in cancer-related worthy causes and scholarships pursuing health-related fields of study since its organization. In addition to funding Dr. Gordon’s research this year, the Foundation also pledged $75,000 early this year to Make-A-Wish of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
For more information about The Timothy O’Connell Foundation, or to make a donation in support of the Foundation’s Boston Marathon 2014 team, go to

by By J.D. O’Gara