New Bedford Man Runs to Honor Doctors Who Performed Lifesaving Heart Surgery

A former patient from New Bedford put his heart to the test Thursday, running from one hospital to another to say thank you to his doctors and help other families in need.

Brian Clay, a realtor and father of three, suffered an aneurysm in his aorta on June 14 of last year. The heart condition, called acute aortic dissection, caused him to be rushed from Good Samaritan Hospital in Brockton to Brigham and Women’s in Boston on a Medflight helicopter.

“It takes away about 50 percent of lives within the first 48 hours if they’re not treated,” Dr. Tsuyoshi Kaneko, Director of the Aortic Program at Brigham and Women’s hospital said. “And even with a surgery operation, 20 percent of patients don’t make it through.”

After hours of surgery and months of recovery, Clay, an avid runner, wanted to do something to mark the year anniversary. He could think of no better way to say thank you than re-tracing the lifesaving route to the doctors who helped save him.

The 18.5 mile run was not just for Clay, but also for other families going through medical crises. He raised money for the non-profit called Wings for Falmouth Families.

“I just really wanted to be able to pay forward all of the kindness and everything everybody did for me,” Clay said.

Clay’s children, wife and some of his doctors were there to greet him at the finish line in front of Brigham and Women’s hospital. He has no plans to do this every anniversary, but said he will continue to run, thankful he still can.

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