Research Research

Running my first Marathon in Honor of Paul Farmer

March 27, 2018

Dear friends,

Thank you for visiting my fundraising page! In less than two weeks, I will be running my first marathon and doing so in honor of Partners in Health and Paul Farmer for giving me the courage to believe in myself and pursue my dream of contributing to social science by researching ways in which to translate human goodness into metrics that sharpen our perspective of human compassion and kindness.

When Paul Farmer and Ophelia Dahl first travelled to Haiti, a country said to be “the poorest on earth,” they were shocked. Yet rather than shrug off the region as “desperate and hopeless,” they talked all night and by next morning had committed themselves to embracing the mission impossible of breaking the tragic cycle of a “poverty trap.” It was then that they became partners and built their legacy, “Partners in Health” or PIH.

Thirty years later, PIH broke the world record by becoming the first NGO in history to initiate an “alternative global health-care option” that provides effective lessons in global health care reform at the implementation rather than policy level, without labeling it as such. PIH’s groundbreaking work is now helping redefine legislature by winning the minds and hearts of local governments. Mobilizing and leading local response to epidemics, it has decreased reliance on current infrastructure. PIH’s invincible spirit is thus helping those who in the past had lost hope and believed that “nobody cared” about them. It is not only changing the lives of the sick and poor, but also inventing new concepts while boosting resilience and bringing renewal to the world at large.

I am a dedicated runner. I have run in many countries, in every kind of weather. Sometimes I wonder whether all the miles I have run over the years would be enough to get me to the North Pole. For me, running has never been about record-breaking or competing, but rather about entering a space in which I can heal, refuel, and build my power to break through barriers. It has always been a private activity, one that I do alone. Last summer in Falmouth, however, I discovered that running could serve a greater purpose than the one I already knew: as a powerful communication tool. The miles I ran with my team in August were turned into miracles. This time is no different. It’s an opportunity to crush even more miles and bigger miracles. I need a team. If you’re looking for one, please sign up. Take a moment to imagine that you and I can save a human life. I know we can, and hopefully we will!
Let’s go! You walk your talk. I run my talk. We’ll be fantastic, I promise!

Let’s be inspired by Ophelia and Paul, who, when they first met and saw Haiti, felt a deep love for humanity that burst into flames and transformed the world. Such magnetism is contagious, it’s rewarding! Ever since I caught this spirit several years ago, my life has changed in every respect. Amazing things began to happen. My running this marathon is proof. I hope you’re ready to catch it too! If so, congratulations! Let’s be a team!

In slightly less than 2 weeks, I see myself hitting my first mile with calm determination, energized by cheering fans, and continuing at a steady pace until I reach the roaring explosion at the finish line with heartfelt gratitude to you for supporting me! We can and we will give Paul and Ophelia what they need to come one step closer to their finish line. A million thanks!

With much love,
Irina Angel, MD
Medical Director
Cambridge Eating Disorder Center